Putin is using peace talks ‘as a respite’, says Ukrainian government adviser

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A Ukrainian government adviser said Russian President Vladimir Putin was using the peace talks between the two countries as a “respite” and suggested he was secretly mobilizing his forces.

Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, took to Twitter on Wednesday as Russia launched new attacks in the Chernihiv region despite saying it would reduce military action there.

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine are ongoing, and Russian officials said Tuesday that a meeting between Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may be possible as part of those negotiations.

However, Gerashchenko said on Wednesday that Putin was determined to destroy Ukraine, while the Kremlin said there had been no “breakthrough” in the talks on Tuesday.

‘Putin is using the talks as a break,’ Gerashchenko said tweeted. “For secret mobilization and regrouping. He will make no concessions.”

“During the negotiations, Ukrainian cities continued to be bombarded. After the negotiations, massive rocket attacks were carried out in almost the entire territory!” he said.

“Putin hasn’t given up on the goal of destroying Ukraine,” Gerashchenko added in another tweet.

“He gave the order to destroy cities, as he does with Mariupol. Now it’s the same with Chernihiv. Surroundings, bombings, total humanitarian disaster. Cities are completely blocked, without food, without light, without medication,” he wrote.

Viacheslav Chaus, governor of Chernihiv, told the BBC on Wednesday that Russia broke its word when it announced it would reduce military activity in the region.

“They attacked Nizhyn and Chernihiv. Mainly Chernihiv. Again part of the civilian infrastructure was destroyed,” Chaus said.

“Chernihiv still has no electricity, water supply and heating. It will not be easy to restore this infrastructure. None of the military buildings were targeted last night. They did not continue to attack than civilian infrastructure,” added Chaus.

These claims had not been independently verified when Chaus spoke to the BBC.

During a call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday evening, Putin reportedly said Russian shelling of the besieged city of Mariupol would only stop once Ukrainian forces surrendered.

Elysee officials said Putin had agreed to “consider” a proposal to evacuate the city presented to the Russian president by France, Turkey, Greece and several aid groups.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that talks between Russia and Ukraine had yet to make substantial progress.

“What is positive is that the Ukrainian side has at least started to formulate and put on paper specifically what they are proposing. So far we have not managed to achieve this,” Peskov said. .

“For the rest, we can’t, to put it that way, as things stand, there have been breakthroughs, anything very promising,” he said.

Newsweek requested comments from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 18, 2022. A Ukrainian government adviser said Putin was determined to destroy Ukraine.
SERGEI GUNEEYEV/Getty Images

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