[guest post by Dana]
That business is brisk is just one more humiliation for President Putin:
More than a million Russians have called, texted or visited the website of a Ukrainian hotline that allows them to surrender, with many seeking a way to avoid going to war, since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, according to the hotline.
The hotline, which is run by the “I Want to Live” project, has received about 200 to 300 daily calls since September, said Vitaliy Matvienko, the project’s spokesperson. Instead of calling, some Russians choose to send encrypted messages via Telegram. Altogether, more than 4,000 people have submitted requests to surrender, he said.
“We saw that there are many Russians who do not want to fight,” Matvienko said. “Their numbers skyrocketed after Putin announced mobilization in Russia, while Ukrainian Armed Forces liberated vast territories in the Kharkiv region in a fulminant counteroffensive.”
Along with the Russians who have called the hotline are Ukrainians who fought on the Russian side.
Concerning any peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, I’ll add this to the post: Demonstrating that the Kremlin is not really interested in any “serious” negotiations with Ukraine, the Kremlin’s position continues to be one where any “serious” talks would first require Ukraine to accept the “new territorial realities”:
In his call with Putin, [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan told him that calls for peace and negotiations should be supported by a unilateral declaration of ceasefire and a vision of “a fair solution.”
Putin, however, told Erdogan that Moscow is open to “serious dialogue,” but Kyiv must accept the “new territorial realities,” according to a Kremlin statement.
“In light of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s readiness for Turkish mediation for a political settlement of the conflict, Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s openness to serious dialogue, provided that the Kyiv authorities comply with the well-known and repeatedly voiced demands and take into account new territorial realities,” the Kremlin said following a phone call between the two leaders on Thursday.
Putin also emphasized “the destructive role of the West, pumping Ukraine with weapons and providing it with target designation,” the Kremlin said.
Putin had no qualms about sending bombs and missiles to kill Ukrainians during their Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, but now he wants to unilaterally declare some kind of a pretend ceasefire to honor the Orthodox holidays. Cynical, revolting, theatrical hypocrisy.