An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described the idea of negotiations with Russia as a “bizarre” proposal. Mykhaylo Podolyak said a move towards a peace deal would be to “capitulate to the country that is losing” and something the Kremlin would likely use to “simply stall for time”.
Negotiations between the two warring nations broke down soon after the invasion began, but calls for peace talks from the US have risen again over fears Vladimir Putin might escalate the conflict after his military was forced into a series of humiliating retreats. Ukraine has inflicted sweeping counter-attacks in recent months and Mr Zelensky has vowed to retake all its occupied territory.
Mr Podolyak said: “When you have the initiative on the battlefield, it’s slightly bizarre to receive proposals like: ‘You will not be able to do everything by military means anyway, you need to negotiate’.” He added that Russia had not made “any direct proposal” to Kyiv for talks.
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Work begins on air shield
The development of a declaration on an air shield between Ukraine and its allies has begun, the office of the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has said. It aims to build a “multi-level system” including anti-missile and anti-aircraft defences.
After suffering hammer-blow setbacks on the ground, Russia has used its firepower in the air to wreak blind destruction across Ukraine, targeting population centres and infrastructure, leading to calls for air defences to be established.
It comes after fifteen European nations, including the UK, agreed to start the development of a “Sky Shield” to enhance Europe-wide defences from aerial attacks. The plans, which are intended to be integrated into pre-existing NATO defence capabilities, aim to give protection “from all air and missile threats”.
Women of Ukraine awarded John McCain leadership prize
The John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service, named after the late US senator, has this year been awarded to the women of Ukraine.
Accepting on their behalf, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska said: “Just a few days ago, a Russian missile – one of the barrage fired against our cities and towns – hit a residential house on a Kyiv street named after the true friend of Ukraine, Senator John McCain.
“There has been such a street for several years. Naming a street after this great man was the least we could do to show how grateful we are for his unfailing friendship.”
Meanwhile, Kajsa Ollongren, defence minister for the Netherlands, told the Halifax Forum – where the prize was awarded – that the invasion of Ukraine demonstrated “it’s not enough to have an army and have weapons. You also have to be creative. You have to be innovative. You have to know how to adapt.
First Lady Zelenska described John McCain as a ‘true friend of Ukraine’ (Image: Halifax The Forum)
Russians ‘depressed’ over disastrous military ‘strategy’
Russians are “depressed” by the bloodshed being wreaked in Ukraine as many are left questioning their military’s strategy, which since the start has been mired with setbacks. Katya, a schoolteacher in Moscow, told the FT, after bringing her class to view a propaganda exhibition on the war: “No one understands anything.
“First we came up to Kyiv, and then we left — and how many people were killed? Then we took Kherson, and then we left it again. And how many people were killed? Even military men, they know how war works. But even they don’t understand this strategy.”
The humiliating retreat from Kherson at the start of the month and the mobilisation of fighting-age men by Putin had left those in Russia “in an unstable state, nervous, anxious. Everyone is depressed,” she added.
Last month, an independent poll found that 88 percent of Russians were worried about how the invasion was progressing, with just 36 percent stating they wanted the fighting to continue. A former official told the paper: “They are just completely mishandling this. They can’t think two steps ahead. It’s completely reactive.”
He said of the Kherson retreat: “It’s completely humiliating — this was the only provincial centre Russia had, and they surrendered it in a month and a half.”
Civilians told to go abroad over winter energy fears
Civilians have been told to leave Ukraine this winter if they are able to as the nation continues to have its energy infrastructure targeted by Russian missiles. Maksym Tymchenko, chief executive of Kyiv-based DTEK, said the country would not be able to supply the entire population as energy consumption increases in the colder months due to the attacks.
He told the BBC yesterday: “If they can find an alternative place to stay for another three or four months, it will be very helpful to the system. If you consume less, then hospitals with injured soldiers will have guaranteed power supply. This is how it can be explained that by consuming less or leaving, they also contribute to other people.”
As Vladimir Putin’s ground forces have been pushed into humiliating retreats in the south and east of Ukraine, his military has resorted to targeting power grids in an apparent bid to freeze its population into submission.
I’m Aleks Phillips and I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine today.