Kirill has previously justified the war as part of Russia’s “metaphysical struggle” to prevent a liberal ideological encroachment from the West.
Independent political analyst Tatyana Stanovaya said Putin’s cease-fire order is intended to make him look reasonable and interested in peace.
The move “fits well into Putin’s logic, in which Russia is acting on the right side of history and fighting for justice,” she said.
“We must not forget that in this war, Putin feels like a ‘good guy,’ doing good not only for himself and the ‘brotherly nations,’ but also for the world he’s freeing from the ‘hegemony’ of the United States,” Stanovaya, founder of the independent R.Politik think tank, wrote on Telegram.
She also linked Putin’s move to Ukrainian forces’ recent strike on Makiivka that killed at least 89 Russian servicemen. “He really doesn’t want to get something like that for Christmas,” the analyst said.
On the rainy streets of Kyiv, some questioned the Russians’ sincerity in discussing a truce.
“Shall we believe Russians?” wondered Svitlana Zhereva after Kirill’s proposal. “On the one hand they have given their blessing to the war and to kill, and on the other hand they want to present themselves as saints who are against blood-spilling. But they should be judged by their actions.”
Putin issued the truce order after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged him in a phone call on Thursday to implement a “unilateral ceasefire,” according to the Turkish president’s office. The Kremlin said the Russian president “reaffirmed Russia’s openness to a serious dialogue” with Ukrainian authorities.
Erdogan also told Zelensky later by phone that Turkey was ready to mediate a “lasting peace”. Erdogan has made such offers frequently, helped broker a deal allowing Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain, and has facilitated a Ukrainian-Russian prisoner swap.
Russia’s professed readiness for peace talks came with the usual preconditions: that “Kyiv authorities fulfil the well known and repeatedly stated demands and recognise new territorial realities,” the Kremlin said, referring to Moscow’s insistence that Ukraine recognise Crimea as part of Russia and acknowledge other illegal territorial gains.
Previous attempts at peace talks have failed over Russia’s territorial demands because Ukraine insists that Russia withdraw from occupied areas.
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