Kremlin labels Christmas withdrawal from Ukraine ‘out of the question’
The Kremlin on Tuesday dismissed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s suggestion of a Christmas troop withdrawal as “out of the question,” according to Russian state-run news agency TASS.
“The Ukrainian side will have to take into account the realities that emerged lately,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday, pointing to Russia’s recently annexed territories in Ukraine. “Without taking these new realities into account, any progress [towards a settlement] will be impossible.”
Zelensky suggested at Monday’s Group of Seven meeting that Russia begin the withdrawal of its troops from Ukraine in the spirit of the Christmas season.
“Very soon we’ll have holidays celebrated by billions of people,” Zelensky said, adding, “This is the time for normal people to think about peace, not aggression.”
“I suggest Russia to at least try to prove that it is capable of abandoning the aggression,” he continued. “It would be right to start the withdrawal of Russian troops from the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine this Christmas. If Russia withdraws its troops from Ukraine, it will ensure a lasting cessation of hostilities.”
However, the nearly 10-month-long war appears likely to drag on through the winter, as Russia continues to target Ukraine’s power grid in frequent missile barrages. The U.S. announced another $275 million in aid to Ukraine last week, including $53 million to support the country’s ailing energy system.
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