Putin wants to put fighting on pause

Authoritarian leaders, they’re just like us: They love taking on ambitious projects (be it starting a garden or launching invasions in neighbouring territories) only to try and quit them later on. 

What happened: Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate a ceasefire with Ukraine that would pause fighting and recognize current battle lines, Russian sources told Reuters. Russia controls around 18% of Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. 

Catch-up: Putin's call for a ceasefire makes sense, as the two sides have been locked in a virtual stalemate for months. Though Russia has made recent gains in its push towards Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, it won’t take the city without calling up more troops.

  • Ukraine has recaptured 54% of the territory it’s lost since the war began, but recent counter-offensives have stalled, and it hasn’t made any significant gains since 2022

Yes, but: Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly made it clear that Ukraine will not engage in peace talks with Putin as they feel he’s not serious about peace — very fair, tbh — and won’t sign any deal that doesn’t include the return of all occupied territories, which is… unlikely

  • Russia could work out a proxy deal with the U.S., but this is also unlikely; the U.S. doesn’t trust Putin and signed a bill in April sending Ukraine ~US$61 billion in war aid.

Bottom line: Even if a ceasefire isn’t near, Putin’s desire for a freeze highlights growing fatigue with a war that has killed hundreds of thousands and is costing trillions to the global GDP.—QH