(Presidentialwire.com)- Hopes for a Christmas ceasefire in Ukraine don’t seem very high, according to a high-ranking defense official in the country.
On Thursday, the official, Brigadier General Oleksii Hromov, said that a ceasefire in the country would be possibly only if Russia started to withdraw troops from his country. The war is now raging on, and is close to enter the 10th full month.
On Thursday, Hromov, who serves as the deputy chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the armed forces in Ukraine, told reporters:
“I believe that there will be a complete ceasefire on our part only when no invaders remain on our land.”
Those words seem to slightly contradict what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday, when he suggested Russia could show to the world that it was willing to begin diplomatic procedures to end the war before the holidays begin.
In a statement that he gave to the G7, Zelneskyy said:
“We offer Russia an opportunity to make a real, meaningful step towards diplomatic settlement. The holidays are ahead, celebrated by billions of people around the world.
“This is the time when normal people think about peace, not about aggression. I offer Russia the opportunity to at least try to demonstrated that they can abandon the way of aggression. It would be a right step to start withdrawing troops from internationally-recognized borders of Ukraine this Christmas.”
For its part, Russia has claimed repeatedly that it would be completely open to diplomacy as a way to end the war that began when it invaded neighboring Ukraine back on February 24. However, the country also said that it would do so only on terms that would be agreeable to them.
This would essentially mean that Russia would be allowed to retain control of the five regions in Ukraine that it illegally annexed back in 2014. That’s not something that Ukraine is willing to discuss.
Russia also doesn’t appear to be willing to enter into a ceasefire at all for the holidays. In response to the suggestion that Russia could withdrawal on Christmas, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said that was “out of the question.”
Instead, he said that Ukrainian officials needed to finally accept the “realities” of the last 20 years. He didn’t expand on what he was referring to by those comments.
Defense officials in Ukraine have said that although Russia has intimated that they were willing to sit down at the negotiation table, there’s nothing that tells them that Russia has any plans to stop its operations in their country.
About a month ago, Zelenskky said while addressing the 2022 Halifax International Security Forum:
“The end of the war does not guarantee peace. Russia is now looking for a short truce — a respite to regain strength. Someone may call this the war’s end, but such a respite will only worsen the situation.”
In other words the Ukrainian president believes his country can’t stop fighting until all Russian troops are gone, including from Crimea, which Russia has occupied since 2014.