(PresidentialInsider.com)- According to the Financial Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to hold off negotiations with Ukraine until after Russia has seized as much territory as possible.
The Financial Times spoke with three people who were briefed on Putin’s conversations with Russian officials who claimed the Russian president was initially receptive to a peace deal with the Zelensky government after Russian forces failed to achieve their objectives in the first weeks of the invasion.
But after Ukraine sank the Russian flagship Moskva in the Black Sea in mid-April, Putin had a change of heart.
According to one source, the sinking of the Moskva was “humiliating” to Putin. “He doesn’t look like a winner,” the source told the Financial Times. It probably didn’t help that Russia’s blitzkrieg to capture Kyiv failed as well.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously suggested that he would be willing to sit down with President Putin to negotiate. But, according to these sources, the Russian president has no interest in having such a meeting.
During a phone call with European Council President Charles Michel last Friday, Putin reportedly said now is not “the right time” to meet with Zelensky. According to one source who spoke with the Financial Times, the Russian president “wants everything to be decided” before he meets with Zelensky. But first, Putin wants to capture as much territory in Ukraine as possible.
Last Friday, Major General Rustam Minnekaev echoed this sentiment, saying Russia’s goal in Ukraine is “establish full control” over the eastern Donbas and the southern region of the country.
Minnekaev explained that “the second phase of the special operation” is to grab Donbas and the south to give Russia a land bridge to Crimea, which the country annexed in 2014.
What Minnekaev describes as a “second phase” is, in reality, Plan B. Russia’s initial plan was to capture Kyiv and install a puppet government. With Ukrainian resistance preventing Plan A, Putin is shifting to Plan B.
And clearly, the Russian president wants to hold off on peace talks until Plan B is achieved.