Russia’s Vladimir Putin must be the one to take the first step towards peace in Ukraine, Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz has said.
The German leader told reporters on Saturday that Mr Putin “must withdraw troops”, but noted there are currently no signs of this happening, when asked about the possiblity of peace negotiations.
Russia is suffering “particularly heavy losses” on the Donetsk frontline as it seeks to capture the tactically key Ukrainian city of Avdiivka, with cluster munitions hampering both sides’ ability to advance, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said on Saturday.
Fighting also raging in Kupiansk and at the Dnipro River, where Mr Putin has lost around a brigade’s worth of forces since Ukraine first began attacking its eastern bank, claims Kyiv, which says it has secured a foothold on the far side of the major waterway.
But despite these heavy losses, neither side has achieved substantial progress in any fighting hotspot, and “there are few immediate prospects of major changes in the frontline” as colder winter weather sets in earnest in eastern Ukraine, the ministry said.