- Putin is done with trying to negotiate a peace deal with Ukraine, the Financial Times reported.
- People close to Putin told the FT he believed it was “not the right time” to meet with Zelenskyy.
- Putin reportedly hardened his stance after the sinking of the Moskva, a Russian naval ship.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is no longer interested in negotiating with Ukraine and just wants to seize as much territory as possible, the Financial Times reported.
Three people briefed on conversations with the Russian president told the FT that Putin was initially open to a peace deal with Ukraine after Russian troops failed to reach their objectives in the first few weeks of the war.
But they said his stance changed after the sinking of the Russian Moskva cruiser in the Black Sea this month, for which Ukraine claimed responsibility.
“There was hope for a deal,” one person told the FT. “Putin was going back and forth. He needs to find a way to come out of this a winner.”
The person added: “After the Moskva, he doesn’t look like a winner because it was humiliating.”
Putin is not interested in meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the people said. Zelenskyy has previously said he is open to sitting down with his Russian counterpart.
In a phone call on Friday, Putin apparently told European Council President Charles Michel that it was “not the right time,” a person briefed on that conversation told the FT.
“He wants everything to be decided before their personal meeting,” they said.
The person told the FT that Putin’s comments were an indicator that he’s set on capturing as much territory in Ukraine as possible.
A Russian general said last week that his country’s goal was to “establish full control” over Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region and southern regions. But Ukrainian officials are concerned that Russia may look even farther, the FT reported.
Zelenskyy told reporters on Saturday he was still open to peace talks with Russia but would no longer negotiate if the last remaining Ukrainian fighters in the southern port city of Mariupol were killed by Russian forces.
“From the beginning, I have insisted on talks with the Russian president,” Zelenskyy told reporters, according to Al Jazeera. “It’s not that I want [to meet him], it’s that I have to meet him so as to settle this conflict by diplomatic means.”