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A Russian negotiator’s positive language clashes with the hard-line rhetoric from Moscow.

March 30, 2022,

Mr. Putin himself has not commented on what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine since March 18. Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the France-based political analysis firm R. Politik, noted that much of what Ukraine proposed on Tuesday would be a nonstarter for Mr. Putin, such as the idea that there would be a 15-year negotiating process about the status of Crimea — something that Mr. Putin, who annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, says is nonnegotiable.

She described the negotiations as, most likely, a feint rather than a signal that Russia was ready to wind down the war. But she noted that — as was the case in the run-up to the invasion — senior Russian officials were unlikely to know what Mr. Putin was really planning, leading to this week’s mixed messages.

“The problem with the Russian regime is that, once again, no one understands what Putin wants,” Ms. Stanovaya said. “As a result, we get this informational chaos.”

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