Vladimir Putin is known to say one thing and do another. So it should come as no surprise Russia’s leader said he’s open to peace talks with Ukraine while also launching a massive air and artillery campaign against roughly 50 towns in Ukraine.
On Christmas day, Russia launched more than 10 rocket attacks on the Kupiansk district in the Kharkiv region, used artillery to shell more than 25 towns along the Kupiansk-Lyman frontline, and hit another 20 towns in Zaporizhzhia with strikes.
In an interview with state-run media on Sunday, Putin said, “We are ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions, but that is up to them. We are not the ones refusing to negotiate.”
The White House flat out dismissed Putin’s remarks of wanting to negotiate a peace deal.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country is open to holding peace talks in February 2023 with Russia but insisted Ukraine would not placate Russian demands. Russia initially wanted to topple Ukraine’s government when it invaded in February 2022. Putin’s regime said it would settle for keeping the areas it illegally annexed.
Russia is in the process of rebuilding some of the areas it destroyed over the last 11 months of war. However, the new construction means much of Ukraine’s history is being erased along with evidence of Russian war crimes.
In Mariupol, in Ukraine’s south, the city that used to be home to almost half a million Ukrainians is looking more Russian every day. Nearly every building was damaged in some way during Russia’s bombardment and siege of the city. Now, some new Russian apartment buildings are changing the skyline.
According to the Associated Press, Russian crews clearing away rubble and bombed out buildings are also removing corpses. Many of those deaths are unrecorded. At least 10,300 new graves are scattered around Mariupol. Many of those graves are believed to contain multiple bodies.
In addition to Russian construction crews covering up deaths and demolishing what’s left of the city’s cultural sites, many of the city’s street names have also been replaced with Russian names. The Avenue of Peace, which cuts through the heart of Mariupol, is now labeled Lenin Avenue.