The experts at the Institute for the Study of War used the phone call between Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Olaf Scholz to analyze the latest talks between Russia and the West. The most important finding: try to manipulate the West. “Russia is trying to capitalize on the West’s desire for negotiations to create a dynamic in which Western officials feel compelled to make preemptive concessions in order to lure Russia to the negotiating table,” the military experts write.

During the talks between Scholz and Putin, the Kremlin chief falsely claimed that the West’s financial and military aid to Ukraine creates a situation in which Ukraine refuses to negotiate with Moscow. Putin demanded that Germany reconsider its part, after which Scholz corrected the Kremlin boss, saying that any negotiations must include Russia withdrawing its troops from Ukraine.

President Biden also recently stated that he would only speak to Putin if he ordered his army to leave Ukraine. The fact that Putin has no intention of withdrawing the troops was made clear by Kremlin spokesman Peskov when he declared that the “special military operation”, as Putin calls his war, would continue. Peskov also stated that if the US does not recognize the annexed Russian territories in Ukraine, it will not help for joint negotiations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made similar statements at the OSCE meeting.

ISW experts are certain that Putin’s rhetoric indicates that Russia is not seriously interested in negotiations with Ukraine and is sticking to its major war goals. It is therefore much more likely that Putin, Lavrov and Peskov made their statements on the negotiations in order to manipulate the West into luring Russia to the negotiating table. The statements made by the three Kremlin politicians show what preventive concessions Russia would like to have in return: Reduced Western aid from the West for Ukraine, recognition of the annexed areas and the restriction of NATO and Western military actions in Europe.

Conversely, Russia does not want to make any concessions in order to take part in the negotiations. Russia would benefit from a temporary negotiation and ceasefire, giving them ample time to prepare their next spring offensive.

In a brief ceremony, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj celebrated the return of some of his soldiers from Russian captivity. “It was a special day in a special week,” he said in his daily video address on Friday evening. At the same time he announced that he would bring back more soldiers from Russian prison camps. “We will not leave a single Ukrainian in Russian prisons, camps and ‘isolations’ (detention centers). We think of everyone.”

Zelenskyj had presented medals to a number of former prisoners of war in Kyiv in the afternoon. In the past few days, Russia and Ukraine have exchanged prisoners of war several times. According to Zelenskyy, a total of 1,331 Ukrainian soldiers had been released from Russian captivity in this way since the beginning of the war in February. Meanwhile, Kyiv continues to seek a special tribunal to try Russian war crimes.

“As long as the fighting continues, as long as our heroes die in the trenches and as long as even one prisoner is in the hands of the enemy – this war is not over for me, and certainly for any of you,” he said, according to the Presidential Chancellery during the Ceremony. Saturday marks the 283rd day of Russia’s war of aggression against its neighboring country.

The efforts of the Ukrainian leadership to set up a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes with Western support are continuing, Zelensky said. Work will continue to gain a “critical mass” of supporters to form this tribunal. According to Kiev’s ideas, it should be based on the model of the Nuremberg tribunal. While the Nazis were held accountable in Nuremberg, according to Kyiv, the political and military leadership of Russia for the war of aggression against the Ukraine is to be held accountable at this special tribunal.

“London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw and other capitals – we are strengthening our position everywhere and gathering the support of our partners,” said Zelenskyy on Friday evening. “I’m sure there will be a tribunal, there will be justice.”

The seven leading democratic economic powers (G7) and Australia want to implement a price cap for oil from Russia in consultation with the European Union. This was announced by the G7 and Australia on Saturday night. The states want to force Russia to sell oil below the market price to buyers in other states. The agreement reached on Friday provides for an initial price cap of USD 60 per barrel. If possible, the price should apply from Monday. In addition to Germany, the G7 also includes the USA, Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy and Japan. Germany currently chairs the group. Government representatives of the EU had previously reached a corresponding agreement on Friday.

Two and a half weeks after the start of an EU training mission for the Ukrainian army, 1100 soldiers are being trained so far. This was announced by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday when he visited a training camp in Brzeg, Poland. This mission shows Europe’s will to support Ukraine in the war against Russia that has been going on for more than nine months. The EU foreign ministers decided on the mission on November 14. The day after was the official start. A total of up to 15,000 soldiers are to be trained in 20 member countries, including Germany.

Ukraine has received a first shipment of Hawk anti-aircraft systems from Spain. This was announced by Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Friday after a meeting with his Spanish colleague Margarita Robles in Odessa. More Hawk anti-aircraft missiles from Spanish stocks are to follow. Ukrainian soldiers are already being trained in Spain. The medium-range anti-aircraft system, which originated in the USA, was put into service in the early 1960s and has been modernized again and again. Hawk has already been phased out in most NATO countries.

In Latvia, the independent Russian television channel Dozhd has come under scrutiny by authorities for its coverage of the Ukraine war. The National Council for Electronic Mass Media (NEPLP) fined the TV channel 10,000 euros for showing a map showing the annexed Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea as part of Russia. The Russian armed forces were referred to as “our army,” the NEPLP said on Twitter.

The media regulator also initiated proceedings against Dozhd for broadcasting appeals in support of the Russian army. Editor-in-chief Tikhon Dzyadko asserted that the opposition channel did not provide any help to the Russian army. He apologized on Twitter for the moderator’s “misinterpreted” call, which the broadcaster says has since been fired. Latvia granted Dozhd a broadcasting license in June after the TV station stopped broadcasting in Russia at the beginning of March due to the harsh crackdown by the Russian authorities.

According to Latvia, Germany should show more leadership and responsibility in Europe. That said the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Defense in Riga, Janis Garisons, in an interview with the editorial network Germany (Saturday). “If we look to the future, we think that Germany should take on more responsibility within Europe,” said Garisons. “Someone has to lead in Europe and bundle the defense capabilities of the individual countries”. After all, Germany is a great economic, military and political power and is located in the center of Europe.

Also read: The Ukraine update on December 2nd – Russia’s troops flee from the next important region

Estonia’s defense minister is certain that Russia will still learn militarily. Ukrainian Ambassador welcomes German Holodomor resolution. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is convinced that Russia “will not win this war”. All current voices and developments on the Ukraine war can be found in the ticker.

The deputy head of the Russian naval school in Vladivostok is dead. He is said to have shot himself. His widow makes serious accusations against his superiors and demands that Putin himself should lead the investigation.

Vladimir Putin’s latest narrative to justify the war is that Russia is defending its own existence in Ukraine. In fact, the country is threatened with ruin. But the Kremlin is actually responsible for the degradation of Russia.