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Tipsheet

As Russia Claims Ukrainians Refusing Ceasefire, Ukrainian Officials Say No to 'Unacceptable Conditions'

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

There was chatter yesterday of there being talks about a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine. While it was hopeful news considering what the Ukrainian people are enduring at the hands of an invasion, it's more of something that we'll believe when we see it. And sure enough, the Russians are alleging that the Ukrainians are refusing to cooperate. The Ukrainians are denying that, but emphasizing that negotiations must have the right terms.

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An update from The Washington Post's Timothy Bella on Saturday included a Telegram message from Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, who said these were tactics from Putin:

In a message posted to the Telegram account of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Podolyak denied Russian claims that Ukraine “allegedly refused to negotiate,” saying the claims are a part of the tactics of Russian President Vladimir Putin. While Podolyak acknowledged that “any war inevitably ends with negotiations,” more was needed before Ukraine got to that point.

“They are trying to drive negotiations into a dead end before they even begin,” he said. “It is clear that a different approach is needed.”

Podolyak called on negotiations that would reflect “the interests of the people and the national statehood of Ukraine.” He then pointed to the Russian attacks on Kyiv and how Ukrainians defended the capital with pride and honor.

The adviser also discussed how well the Ukrainians have fought:

“By their resistance, Ukrainians have proved that driving us into a dead end is an unrealistic ambition,” he said.

The adviser concluded by reiterating that Zelensky “categorically does not accept any unacceptable conditions and ultimatums for Ukraine.”

“Only full-fledged negotiations,” Podolyak said.

Podolyak also was in touch with Reuters. "It was yesterday that the aggressive actions of the armed forces of the Russian Federation escalated, up to evening and night mass air and missile strikes on Ukrainian cities," he said in a message to the outlet. "We consider such actions only an attempt to break Ukraine and force it to accept categorically unacceptable conditions."

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As Matt highlighted earlier, the Ukrainian people have held on and resisted the Russians, making the invasion more difficult than Putin could have anticipated. 

A Fox News update cites a Facebook post from Ukraine's Ministry of Defense claiming it's captured a Russian tank battalion commander.

"His tank was hit by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, miraculously survived," the post reads. "Believe in the Armed Forces! Glory to Ukraine!"

And, a Fox News report by Peter Aitken report noted that "Ukraine-Russia War: Russian troops underfunded, equipment sub-par, according to reports." As the piece noted:

The Russian effort to invade Ukraine appears to have been underfunded and under-equipped to handle the swift takeover that Russian President Vladimir Putin was hoping for.

Russia is "increasingly frustrated" by the lack of momentum in the invasion, particularly in the north of the country, a U.S. official said Saturday. Despite the months of planning and preparation, Russia has yet to achieve air superiority, and Ukraine retains command and control. 

And a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin that the Russian military is not moving or fighting at night: Most movement starts just before dawn and occurs during the day because they don’t have night vision and are not trained in night vision, which contributed to slower than expected progress.  

Part of the issue may be that the Russian troops are conscripts, not highly trained. Many don’t know why they are there, according to the Soldiers’ Mother Committee.  

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is also rallying his people, and periodically posts videos to show he's still standing, as well as to prepare Ukrainians for what lies ahead in the fight. He also tweets updates in multiple languages, including in English. 

As Matt and Landon highlighted earlier on Saturday, he's been offered a ride out of the country by the United States, but has vowed to stay in Ukraine. "The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride," Zelensky said. 

NBC News' Richard Engel tweeted that he's seen Ukrainians tear down road signs as a way to confuse Russian invaders, something additional NBC News reporters and producers have seen. 

A Facebook post from Ukravtodor (the State Agency of Motor Roads of Ukraine), as highlighted by iNews, has called on Ukrainians to do so, sharing "Let's help them go straight to hell," about the Russian troops.


Another Fox News update from Saturday has more about Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov blaming the Ukrainians. "After the Ukrainian side rejected a negotiating process, all units were given orders today to develop the offensive along all axes in line with the operation plan," he's quoted as saying by Interfax. 

While "The captures of Kyiv remains Russia's primary military objective," according to an assessment from United Kingdom intelligence, that assessment also noted that the "speed of the Russian advance has temporarily slowed likely as a result of acute logistical difficulties and strong Ukrainian resistance."

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And another Fox News update had indicated that 50 percent of assembled Russian combat forces are in Ukraine, citing a U.S. defense official. 

It's currently night in Ukraine. Fox News Foreign Correspondent Trey Yingst has tweeted explosions and sirens heard from Kyiv. 

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