Putin says Moscow ready for talks with Ukraine as attacks continue: NPR
KYIV, Ukraine – President Vladimir Putin has claimed Russia is ready for talks to end the war in Ukraine even as the country faces new attacks from Moscow – a clear sign that peace is not in sight. imminent.
Putin said in an interview on state television, excerpts of which aired on Sunday afternoon, that Russia is “ready to negotiate acceptable outcomes with all participants in this process.”
He said “it’s not us who refuse talks, it’s them” – something the Kremlin has repeatedly said in recent months as its 10-month-old invasion lost momentum.
Putin also reiterated that Moscow had “no other choice” and said he believed the Kremlin was “moving in the right direction”.
“We are defending our national interests, the interests of our fellow citizens, of our people,” he said.
Putin’s remarks come as attacks on Ukraine continue. A nationwide air raid alert was issued twice on Sunday alone, and three missiles in the afternoon hit the town of Kramatorsk in the partially occupied Donetsk region, local officials said.
The missiles hit an industrial area of the city, and there were no casualties, according to the Ukrainian governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko. Kyrylenko said the town of Avdiivka was also attacked on Sunday with six shellings and a woman was injured there.
Elsewhere in the frontline region around the town of Bakhmut, where heavy fighting has taken place in recent weeks, Russian forces were struggling to maintain the pace of their offensive, a think tank reported over the weekend. based in the United States.
“The pace of advance of Russian forces in the Bakhmut region has likely slowed in recent days, although it is too early to assess whether the Russian offensive to capture Bakhmut was successful,” wrote the Institute for study of warfare in its recent update.
The think tank cited Russian military bloggers, who it said recently acknowledged “that Ukrainian forces in the Bakhmut region managed to slightly slow the pace of the Russian advance around Bakhmut and surrounding settlements.”
Sources on Ukrainian social media “previously claimed that Ukrainian forces completely pushed Russian forces out of the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut” around December 21, the report added.
“Russian forces will likely struggle to maintain the tempo of their offensive operations in the Bakhmut region and may seek to initiate a tactical or operational pause,” the institute concluded.
The day before, a deadly Russian attack on the southern city of Kherson, taken over by Ukrainian forces last month, left dozens dead and injured.
Russian forces have shelled Ukrainian-held areas in the partially occupied Kherson region 71 times in the past 24 hours, including 41 attacks on the city of Kherson, Ukrainian governor of the region Yaroslav Yanushevich reported on Sunday.
A total of 16 people were killed, according to the official, including three rescue workers killed in the process of demining the region’s Berislav district. Yanushevich said 64 others were injured.
In neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region, the town of Nikopol was shelled overnight by heavy artillery, Governor Valentyn Reznichenko said. No casualties were reported.