Moscow's "Christmas truce" initiative is an attempt to change the rules of the game in Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine. And it will not be the last
Moscow's initiative for a "Christmas truce" is hardly a Christian gesture of goodwill and openness on the part of the Kremlin dictator. Rather, it is an attempt to change the rules of the game in Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine. We can be sure that this attempt will not be the last. And here's why.
Firstly: the Russian army of occupation is helplessly losing at the front in Ukraine. New Western arms pledges to our country, which will be announced at the next Ramstein Format meeting this month, make the prospects of the military confrontation quite obvious for Putin: he will have no victory, and the shame of losing is steadily approaching. The announcement of this truce is recognition of this fact.
Secondly: during its unprovoked and criminal war, the Kremlin has fully felt the consequences of its isolation in the world. The number of Putin's friends is approaching zero, and Moscow can now count those who can be called partners on just one hand. North Korea and Iran, where the Russian dictator is gathering at least some assistance , are a clear indication of Russia's isolation in the world. And although yes, we can still talk about individual countries in remote regions such as Africa or Latin America, the trend is more important. This trend is leading to the narrowing of Russia's role in the international arena. Moscow's statement that it will not be possible to dislodge the Russian Federation from, for example, the order of the Middle East, is about exactly this.
This is a well-thought-out trap for both Ukraine and its Western allies
Thirdly: in addition to unleashing a war against Ukraine and the entire collective West, Putin has also managed to unleash a war inside Russia itself. A kind of second front, which, quite obviously, the Putin regime did not expect until February 24, 2022. No matter how closed Russia is, and no matter how controlled its flow of information, Putin's war in Ukraine has entered not only every Russian city and village, but also every Russian family. Otherwise, there would not have been an avalanche-like flight of thousands of Russians from the country against the background of partial mobilization, numerous cases of surrender, or the emergence of a partisan resistance movement within Russia itself.
Fourthly: Putin's regime is losing its sources of containment of internal unity, and thus controllability. It is quite obvious that the fake denazification of Ukraine, the idea of a “fratricidal” war invented by Russian propaganda, and the narrative imposed on society about a war against the entire collective West, are slipping. In order for all these artificial ideas to begin to be filled with content, the Kremlin needs an "ignition charge" which would be able to create a chain reaction and add legitimacy to Russia's actions.
Fifth: Putin needs an "ignition charge" for foreign audiences as well, where the last remnants of international comity are constantly fleeing from the toxicity Russia has acquired over the last year.
And it is at this moment that Putin has announced a unilateral "Christmas truce," targeting those in Russia who doubt the justice of this Putin war. Along with those outside of Russia who are not deeply invested in the conflict and are ready to buy into Russia’s mirage of being actually ready for negotiations with Ukraine. This is a well-thought-out trap for both Ukraine and its Western allies.
Agreeing to it would be the beginning of the game according to the Kremlin's rules and script. Putin's regime will show that it has the strategic initiative and will use this precedent at the first opportunity. In any case, Russian propaganda will try to portray Kyiv as unyielding, treacherous, and aggressive. This is the key problem that should be solved.
Next week, a meeting of the UN Security Council is planned to consider the Ukrainian issue. It is possible that during this meeting, Putin will come out with his version of the "Kiss of Judas." The task of our diplomacy is to clarify the highest level of insidiousness and cynicism of Moscow (not to those who are convinced, but to those who are ready to "hear Putin"), which we can expect to emerge from these Christian gestures and true readiness for peace.