We have 2 million ethnic Russians. Russian language is a required study from kindergarten to university. But we don’t have Russian language text books, we ask, and ask, and ask, and I don’t want to offend you, but you don’t care.
Your businessmen come and rob us of our natural resources, they are not interested in anything but oil, gas that will enrich them. But how about our industry? Our national strategic interests? You don’t care!
I was there when the Soviet Union collapsed, I’ve witnessed it. I know why it has collapsed- it is for the same things you are doing now. It did not support the small nations, did not help them develop economically, preserve culture, traditions. Same as you!
We are not a big nation, we are not a hundred million nation but we have our history, we have our culture and traditions and we love them. We do not want your money, we want to be respected as we deserve.
We host your military bases, we do everything you ask for, we really try to be what you pretend to be to us “strategic partners.” But we are never being treated like strategic partners! No offense, but we want to be respected! (Loose translation summary)
“I want to be clear. What’s happening now is unpleasant, to put it mildly. But all the same things would have happened later, under worse conditions for us. So our actions are correct and timely.”
Meduza has learned from multiple sources close to the Russian government that the Kremlin has simultaneously been lobbying Western leaders behind closed doors to convince Kyiv to agree to a temporary ceasefire. But according to the sources, Putin has no intention of ending the war; instead, his ceasefire campaign is part of a wider strategy to buy time for training conscripts and replenishing supplies in order to launch a "full-scale offensive" in February or March.
The Ukrainian side has rejected the possibility of negotiating with Putin multiple times in recent months. And in early October, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree officially stating the “”impossibility of negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.” The order was adopted in response to the “referendums” held by the Russian authorities as a step towards annexing Ukrainian territories.
“It’s very hard to hold Kherson right now, and the withdrawal of troops from the region could be done as a gesture of goodwill and a step forward towards Ukraine,” one source close to the Kremlin said.
According to Meduza’s sources, the Kremlin has been trying to “influence Western leaders” and Turkish President Recep Erdoğan to “convince” Ukraine to return to negotiations with Russia. Meduza’s sources claim that Russia is using a “simple argument” in its communications with foreign leaders: “Civilian casualties must be avoided.” These talks have been going on amid the widespread shelling of Ukrainian cities that Russia launched after the explosion on the Crimean Bridge on October 8 and Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in September.
At the same time, Meduza’s sources emphasized that Vladimir Putin has no plans to end the war, and that he hopes to use the prospective ceasefire to prepare for a new offensive. As Putin sees it, the truce would allow the Russian army to train newly mobilized soldiers for war and replenish its equipment. Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov did not respond to Meduza’s questions.
Under the Kremlin’s plan, according to Meduza’s sources, the “new full-scale offensive” might start in approximately February or March of 2023.
“We’ll be ready for negotiations with Russia, though not with Putin, but with his replacement,” a source from Volodymyr Zelensky’s office told Meduza. He then called on Russians to do their part to make the negotiations happen sooner: “Bring down that delusional Putin of yours.”
The source added that Ukraine has long been distrustful of any statements — and “gestures of goodwill” — from Russia: “He keeps lying, Putin does. He talks about how he’s reading for negotiations, then he launches missile strikes on civilians. I don’t think there will be any ceasefire until our territories are de-occupied, until they’re liberated.”
What does a ceasefire give Ukraine, in the Russian scenario? … Can they really believe we’re going to agree to that? Especially against the backdrop of the counteroffensive…
A clear operational pause for the brutally battered Russian units, so they can at least train a few hastily mobilized soldiers and send a new quantity of death-bound men to the battlefield? What would we want that for?
According to Podolyak, “this scenario is absolutely not in Ukraine’s interests, so these proposals — whether or not they’re made publicly — are out of the question.” Podolyak stressed that Ukraine is “extremely interested” in defeating Russia militarily: “Because that’s the only thing that will allow us to truly end the war, gain the opportunity to brutally punish the war criminals through legal channels, and indirectly facilitate the launch of a scenario in which the Russian political system of Russia itself is transformed.”