Kremlin says Christmas ceasefire not on the agenda in Ukraine

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Dec 14 (Reuters) – Russia said on Wednesday it had not received any proposals about a “Christmas ceasefire” in Ukraine, as fighting looks set to drag on through the winter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Russia this week to start withdrawing its troops by Christmas as the first step towards a peace deal after nearly 10 months of war.

Asked on Wednesday whether Moscow had seen proposals for a “Christmas ceasefire,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: “No, no such offers have been received from anybody. This topic is not on the agenda.”

After a series of lightning Ukrainian counteroffensives which has seen Kyiv regain control over around half of the territory Moscow captured in the first weeks of the war, neither side has made significant territorial gains in the past month.

Military analysts say a winter deadlock could set in, even as fierce fighting continues especially in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, where Russian forces are pushing to capture the town of Bakhmut.

Peskov said on Tuesday there would be no peace with Kyiv until Zelenskiy accepted the “realities” on the ground – namely, Russian control over four Ukrainian regions it annexed in September following “referendums” decried as coercive and illegal by Kyiv, the West and a majority of states at the United Nations.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Jake Cordell; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

A Christmas tree decoration left by First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska after her meeting in November with Akshata Murty, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife outside number 10 Downing Street in London, Britain. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN

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