Kremlin manipulates talks proposals to derail international support for Ukraine

According to experts from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russian authorities are allegedly manipulating negotiation platforms proposed by China and Türkiye to hinder international support for Ukraine. Analysts argue that as China and Türkiye establish their negotiation platforms, the Kremlin is using them to advance information operations aimed at impeding further global backing for Ukraine.

A recent meeting between Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin and China's Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui in Moscow discussed China's potential role in facilitating peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Galuzin and Li emphasized the importance of Russia's participation in any settlement discussions, asserting that Western and Ukrainian "ultimatums" and "dialogue formats" harm the prospects for a settlement.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan expressed hope for imminent ceasefire talks in Ukraine during the Antalya Diplomatic Forum. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested Türkiye's readiness to arrange another negotiation platform, a proposal rejected by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The ISW report underscores that Russian officials continue to falsely blame Ukraine and the West for the absence of peace talks, despite indications that Russia may not be genuinely interested in good-faith negotiations. The institute maintains that Russia's statements expressing interest in peace talks might be a ploy to extract concessions and shift negotiation responsibility to Ukraine and the West.

Belgium ready to finance Ukraine's defence needs using profits from Russian assets

Belgium has declared €1.7 billion in profits from frozen Russian assets, and a portion of these funds has been earmarked to aid Ukrainian refugees, according to Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal. The Belgian government expresses readiness to finance various Ukrainian needs, including defense, utilizing part of the profit. Shmyhal also highlighted Belgium's willingness to explore mechanisms for confiscating Russian assets and transferring them to Ukraine, with collaborative efforts anticipated in the coming year.

Ukrainian government expects 5% GDP growth this year

Ukraine's economy demonstrated resilience by achieving a 5.6% GDP growth in 2023, according to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. Despite challenges, the government projects a continued positive trajectory with an expected 5% growth in 2024. Shmyhal emphasized the significance of these growth indicators in supporting essential areas such as defense funding and social payments, acknowledging the context of broader economic challenges stemming from territorial losses. The government anticipates further economic boost through initiatives promoting consumer demand and national programs, aiming for sustained recovery.