Putin rejects ceasefire in Ukraine, says Kiev can rearm itself


Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he would never declare a ceasefire in Ukraine without Kiev meeting certain conditions.

Ukraine could use a ceasefire to arm itself against new attacks, so a lasting solution to the conflict must first be negotiated, Putin said.

Putin referred to previous agreements on the conflict in Ukraine, made before he ordered his large-scale invasion, which ultimately ended up “in the trash.”

He was referring to the effectively frozen conflict after Moscow illegally annexed Crimea and the presence of Moscow-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

“That is why we cannot just declare a ceasefire now in the hope that the other side will take positive steps,” Putin said at the end of the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a security forum.

“We cannot allow the enemy to use this ceasefire to improve its situation, arm itself, renew its army with the help of forced mobilization and prepare to continue the armed conflict,” Putin said at the event in the Kazakh capital Astana.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected ceasefire proposals, the latest from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who generally enjoys good relations with Putin.

Ukraine is not ready to negotiate under the current circumstances and demands Russia’s complete withdrawal from all occupied territories, including Crimea, as a condition for peace, Zelensky said.

The Kremlin also rejected an offer from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to mediate between Moscow and Kiev, as proposed in Astana.

Russia expands its ranks

Back in Russia, former president Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that the Russian armed forces have been strengthened with 190,000 new volunteers so far this year.

Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said there is no shortage of military personnel and that the Kremlin is achieving its goal of recruiting servicemen.

“The average daily recruitment rate remains stable and is around 1,000 people,” Medvedev said at a Defense Ministry meeting, as quoted by state news agency TASS.

According to estimates by the Ukrainian military leadership, nearly 550,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the start of the large-scale Russian invasion more than two years ago.

Ukraine forced to surrender parts of Chasiv Yar

The Ukrainian army was forced to abandon the easternmost part of the town of Khasiv Yar in the Donetsk region after months of fighting.

“The positions of our defenders have been destroyed,” Khortytsia army group spokesman Nazar Voloshyn said, according to the Interfax-Ukraine agency. It was therefore no longer tenable to hold the city’s Kanal district, he said on Thursday, adding that a withdrawal to new positions had been ordered.

There is not a single building left intact, the spokesman said. “Bombardments and artillery fire have left a moonscape.”

A week ago, Voloshyn said that the Ukrainian army had largely driven Russian opponents out of the district.

The Russian army had previously announced the capture of the district and the adjacent district. Reports indicate that the Russian army used heavy glide bombs against Ukrainian positions.

The Russian army has been advancing on Khasiv Yar for several months. The city is located west of Bakhmut, which was captured in 2023.

If the city is captured, it will open the way for Russia to gain access to the agglomeration around the city of Kostiantynivka.

The Russian army also made territorial gains on other parts of the front. Ukrainian military observers recorded advances near Toretsk, also located in the Donetsk region. In addition, Russian units are said to have entrenched themselves in a third of the Kharkiv region on the state border.

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