Top Ukrainian aide says Russia didn’t ask for a ‘short truce,’ clarifying Zelenskyy remark

Halifax, Nova Scotia — Russia has not directly asked Ukraine for a quick fighting break in the war, a top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday, clarifying a comment by his boss the day before.

On Friday, Zelenskyy told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum that Kyiv rejected Russia’s preference for a “short truce,” leaving open the question of whether Moscow made the request of the Ukrainian administration.

Andriy Yermak, who heads the Ukrainian presidential office, stated in a virtual interview that the Kremlin did not propose such a pause to the Ukrainian government. “We have not [had] any official application from the Russian side about some conversations, some negotiations,” he said.

The remark came during a sensitive time in the brutal nine-month war. Top U.S. and European officials are nudging Ukraine to welcome a peaceful resolution to the conflict that Russia started. Ukraine so far has rejected those appeals, saying that any move for talks now would benefit Moscow more than Kyiv.

In fact, Yermak signaled an upcoming military campaign in Crimea, the peninsula Russia claimed to annex in 2014, though he wouldn’t confirm an exact timeline for its start.

“This war, it continues,” he said, adding that “I’m sure” a campaign to retake Crimea will happen.

Earlier on Saturday, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov told Sky News that Ukrainian troops would be in Crimea by December and that the war would be over by next spring.

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