top of page
  • Writer's pictureParley Policy Initiative

Ukraine-Russia Ceasefire Negotiations: Chapter VII

This article looks at the seventh chapter of ceasefire negotiations between Russia and Ukraine that occurred from November 2022 to February 2023. For the latest on the ceasefire negotiations, see the running tracker here. Read about Chapter I, Chapter II, Chapter III, Chapter IV, Chapter V, and Chapter VI.

* * * * * *

Chapter VII Summary: The winter months slowed the Ukrainian counteroffensive but did not stop Russian missile strikes on energy infrastructure and other targets. The Ukrainian side used the reduced hostilities to focus on rearming for the coming spring counteroffensive, witnessing Volodomyr Zelensky's first overseas trips since the start of the war to meet with key supporters. Both warring parties used the winter to negotiate and execute multiple prisoner exchanges and remains repatriations. Meanwhile, the IAEA focused on advancing negotiations between Russia and Ukraine on nuclear safety and security, achieving the establishment of IAEA support and assistance missions at each of Ukraine's nuclear facilities.


18 November:

  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal states that Russia has disabled almost half of the country's energy infrastructure. In recent weeks, Russian forces have deliberately targeted Ukraine's power lines, substations, and power plants in an effort to disrupt energy supply to Ukraine's civilian population.


19 November:

  • In a speech to the Halifax International Security Forum, President Volodymyr Zelensky lays out the ten points of the "Ukrainian Peace Formula": (1) radiation and nuclear safety; (2) food security; (3) energy security; (4) release of all war prisoners and deportees; (5) "Implementation of the UN Charter and the restoration of our territorial integrity and world order"; (6) withdrawal of Russian troops and cessation of hostilities; (7) restoration of justice through war tribunals and reparations; (8) countering ecocide; (9) security guarantees for Ukraine; (10) "confirmation of the war's end."


20 November:

  • Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant suffers severe shelling. Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator of the plant, argues that Russia is attempting prevent the restart of two of the reactors which would provide electricity to the Ukrainian populace.


21 November:

  • The IAEA publishes a report indicating that its on-site support mission at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant received briefings and surveyed the damage from the weekend attacks against the facility. IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi states that he has "intensified his consultations aimed at establishing a protection zone at the plant."


22 November:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. The Ukrainian Ministry for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories reports that 33 bodies were returned to Ukraine in exchange for an undisclosed number of Russian remains, bringing the total to 721 returned to the Ukraine side since the start of the war.


23 November:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. The Coordination Headquarters for thr Treatment of POWs reports that 36 Ukrainians are returned for an undisclosed number of Russians. [Note: The Kremlin later revealed that 35 Russians were released in this exchange.]

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi meets a Russian delegation led by Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev in Istanbul to negotiate the establishment of a "nuclear safety and security protection zone" around Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. In its press release, Rosatom chooses to characterize the meeting as a "regular working meeting," noting that the parties discussed the ongoing IAEA support mission at Zaporizhzhia. The last face-to-face meeting between Grossi and Likhachev took place on 24 August 2022.


24 November:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. This time, both sides announce that they employed a 50-for-50 formula, each repatriating 50 prisoners.


25 November:

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi issues a statement in which he confirms that all four of Ukraine's nuclear facilities--Zaporizhzhia, Chornobyl, Rivne, and Khmelnytskyy--were knocked off of external power as a result of militarized attacks. Although external power is eventually restored, the IAEA publishes a report noting its follow-on actions to address the issues. They note that the IAEA completed a one-week mission to Chornobyl and would be sending teams to Rivne and Kmelnytskyy in the coming weeks.


26 November:


27 November:

  • Ukrainian media outlet Defense Express reports that Russian An-124 transport aircraft have visited China nine times over the past week, with some of them turning off their transponders to evade tracking. This fuels speculation that China is supplying Russia with military aid.


28 November:

  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dispels rumors that Russian forces are planning to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. This denial comes after several foreign media outlets speculate that occupation authorities were preparing to leave the area in and around the plant.


29 November:

  • The first ship laden with Russian fertilizer sets voyage under the auspices of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. As part of the UN-Russia agreement that is an integral component of the Initiative, Russia had pledged to donate 260,000 metric tons of fertilizer stored in the European ports and warehouses, and 20,000 metric tons of Russian fertilizers on board set sail from a Dutch port bound for Malawi via Mozambique.

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi meets with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba. The two discuss urgent establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone around Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, and Grossi pledges to continue IAEA support to all of Ukraine's nuclear facilities.

Dmytro Kuleba meets Rafael Grossi, 29 November 2022 (photo via Twitter @rafaelmgrossi)


30 November:

  • Russian occupation authorities assign new management personnel in charge of running the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. In the weeks leading up to this leadership change, the Russian authorities had given the Ukrainian employees at the plant a choice: (1) sign a new contract with the "JSC Operating Organization of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant" (a front company for Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom); or (2) lose their jobs. The personnel changes announced today represent the culmination of this effort.


1 December:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. 50 Ukrainian soldiers are swapped for 50 Russians in the fourth repatriation to take place in 10 days. President Zelensky announces that since 24 February, 1,331 Ukrainians have been repatriated from Russian captivity.


2 December:

  • International media reports that Croatia is preparing to auction off a super yacht that belonged to oligarch Viktor Medvechuk, the proceeds of which (an estimated $200 million) will go to support the reconstruction of Ukraine. This is the first such action aimed at using seized assets to supplement war reparations.

  • At a conference in Rome, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi states that the parties to conflict are close to an agreement on established a demilitarized zone at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Grossi states, "We are almost there. Believe me...Now we have a proposal on the table which simply put is aiming to stop the folly of bombing the largest nuclear power plant in Europe...This is ongoing. I cannot reveal everything, but I am engaged."

  • The IAEA announces that it has completed its technical assistance mission to South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant. The IAEA pledged to complete missions at all five of Ukraine's nuclear facilities, leaving only the Rivne and Khmelnitsky power plants.


3 December:

  • The first ship operating under the new "Grain from Ukraine" humanitarian program arrives in the Port of Doraleh to deliver 25 thousand tons of Ukrainian wheat bound for Ethiopia. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced this initiative in his address to the G20 summit on 15 November, and the government officially launched it on 26 November at the International Summit on Food Security.

  • Ukrainian MP and lead negotiator David Arakhamia posts his preconditions for security guarantees. For the first time, he mentions nuclear weapons:

Ukraine is ready to provide security guarantees to Russia. For this it is enough: leave the territory of our country; pay reparations; punish all war criminals; voluntarily surrender nuclear weapons. After that, we are ready to sit down at the negotiating table and talk about security guarantees.


4 December:

  • In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledges the Russian aim to weaponize winter against the Ukrainian population. He states the following:

The enemy really hopes to use winter against us: to make winter cold and hardship part of his terror. We have to do everything to endure this winter, no matter how hard it is. And we will endure. To endure this winter is to defend everything...To get through the winter, we have to be even more resilient and even more united than ever. There can be no internal conflicts and strife, which can weaken us all, even if someone out there thinks that somehow it will strengthen him personally. We need more interaction than ever. All of Ukraine has to become one big Point of Invincibility and work every day, work every night. The state, business, people--all of us, Ukrainians, all together.


5 December:

  • President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister of Montenegro Dritan Abazović sign the "Joint Declaration on the Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine." This declaration defines the priority areas of cooperation between Ukraine and Montenegro as Ukraine seeks full NATO membership. Montenegro completed its NATO accession in 2017.


6 December:


7 December:

  • Time Magazine announces that Volodymyr Zelensky has been named its "Person of the Year."


8 December:

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross announces that it has started visiting POWs in Ukraine and Russia in recent weeks. ICRC personnel carried out one two-day visit to Ukrainian prisoners of war last week, with another scheduled to occur this week. During the same period, the ICRC also visited Russian prisoners with more visits planned to occur before year's end. The purpose of these visits was to check condition and treatment of POWs, share information on their status to families, and deliver items such as books, personal hygiene items, blankets, and warm clothes.


9 December:

  • Vladimir Putin signals that Russia might be willing to pursue a preemptive strike deterrence posture. In an address to media, he states the following:

First, the United States has a pre-emptive strike theory. Second, they are developing a disarming strike system. What is that? It is a system of attacking command and control centers with modern high-tech means with the aim to incapacitate them, and so on...Since we are on the subject of a disarming strike, then maybe we should consider borrowing the ideas of our U.S. partners on how to ensure our own security, shouldn't we? We're just thinking about it. After all, no one was shy about talking about this out loud for years...Here it’s different. Our strategy formulates a response to an attack...But if a potential adversary thinks that it is possible to use the theory of a preventive strike, while we do not, then this prompts us to give thought to the threats that such ideas in the defense doctrines of other countries pose to us.


10 December:

  • Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi announces that the IAEA has completed nuclear safety and security missions at Ukraine's Khmelnytskyy and Rivne Nuclear Power Plants. With this, the IAEA has completed its first round of missions at all five of Ukraine's nuclear facilities, with the intention of conducting follow-up engagements and fulfilling requests from the plant operators. Grossi also notes that the IAEA swapped out its personnel at the IAEA Support Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhia (ISAMZ), making it the fourth rotation since 1 September.


11 December:

  • In a telephone call with U.S. President Joe Biden, Volodymyr Zelensky discussed an initiative to convene a "Global Peace Summit" aimed at helping Ukraine actualize the ten objectives outlined in the Ukrainian Peace Formula. The following text comes from the Presidential Office's readout of the call:

Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that Ukraine wants to achieve peace and drew attention to the importance of consolidating international efforts to reach this goal. It was for this purpose that during the G-20 summit, the President of Ukraine presented the Peace Formula, which provides for 10 critically important steps, the implementation of which will make it possible to stop the war.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy outlined the vision of the Ukrainian side regarding further work in this important direction, and came forward with the initiative to convene a Global Peace Summit.


12 December:

  • In an interview with the Rossiya-24 TV channel, Russian-installed director Yury Chernichuk of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant expresses support for the IAEA mission at the plant. He explains, "We communicate with [IAEA] representatives twice a day, we hold meetings every morning and evening, where we discuss all issues and I provide them with information." Separately, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has expressed hope that his organization will be able to negotiate the creation of a demilitarized zone at the plant before the end of the year.


13 December:

  • In an address to the "In Solidarity with the Ukrainian People" Conference, President Volodymyr Zelensky calls upon the international community to help Ukraine overcome Russian attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure. He states the following:

At least one and a half billion euros are needed only for the superficial quick restoration of Ukrainian energy facilities destroyed by Russian strikes.

Every time, after every Russian strike, we try to restore the technical ability to generate and supply electricity. Nevertheless, every day our energy workers have to disconnect millions of Ukrainians from the supply due to a critical shortage of electricity in the general energy system.

Right now, about 12 million people in almost all regions and the capital are disconnected from the supply. Unfortunately, this is a typical situation for us. And we expect new Russian strikes every day, which can dramatically increase the number of shutdowns.

That is why generators and uninterruptible power sources have now become as necessary in Ukraine as armored vehicles and bulletproof vests. This is the only way to protect ordinary people and the social order in the conditions of the Russian bid for blackout. In fact, a decentralized energy generation system parallel to the main one is currently being built in Ukraine. It is being built very quickly, in all regions, by many subjects.

But still, it cannot meet all the needs of Ukraine...the key task is to preserve the main energy system of Ukraine, to guarantee its stable operation despite any Russian efforts to make Ukraine the darkest place in Europe...Here and now we have to agree on specific things that will not only help Ukraine endure the winter. They will also prove as clearly as possible to any anti-democratic and anti-European forces, and primarily to Russia, that Europe has learned to prevent catastrophe and protect its people.


14 December:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. 65 people (including one American) are returned to the Ukrainian side for an equal number of Russians. Four bodies of fallen soldiers are also repatriated to the Ukraine side.


15 December:

  • Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova expresses that Russia is prepared to negotiate an end of hostilities with Ukraine, provided the Ukraine side offer key concessions. She states, "We are ready to discuss a settlement to the Ukrainian crisis, but only if we receive real and not far-fetched proposals, which would take into account the present-day realities, Russia’s legal interests and so forth."


16 December:

  • In an interview with domestic media, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin signals that negotiations with the IAEA on establishment of a 'safety and security zone' at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant are on-going with talks possibly happening in Moscow soon. He states, "In principle, contacts on prevention of Ukrainian armed forces’ shelling of the [ZNPP] continue. We will be able to see such negotiations soon, including in Moscow...We have trust in IAEA’s competence and potential. We stay in contact with them."


17 December:

  • In an interview with the Suddeutsche Zeitung, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz states that Germany will not unilaterally transfer tanks to Ukraine in 2023. He clarifies, "This is a criterion of our decisive but cautious policy."

  • Ukrainian Presidential Advisor and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak comments on recent calls for Ukraine to return to the negotiating table with Russia. He posts the following on social media:

All supporters of "simple solutions" should remember the obvious: any deal with the devil--a "bad peace" at the expense of the territories of Ukraine--will be a victory for Putin and a recipe for success for autocrats around the world. That is, it will only increase Russia's appetite, significantly increase Russian aggressiveness, multiply new conflicts around the world, make missiles a tool of international relations and lead to an era of instability and a new pursuit of the atom by non-nuclear states.

The only possible way to end the war and establish peace is through the return of respect for international law. This means Ukraine's liberation of its territories, an open trial of Russian war criminals, and Russia's obligation to pay reparations for many years.


18 December:

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a recorded speech to viewers of the 2022 World Cup. In his remarks, he renews his call for a Global Peace Summit in which to advance initiatives based on the Ukrainian Peace Formula.


19 December:

  • Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly announces her government's intent to seize assets belonging to Roman Abramovich. The government is targeting about $26 million in assets from Granite Capital Holdings Ltd. under legislation recently passed that permits authorities to seize Russian assets, liquidate them, and deliver the proceeds to Ukraine to support reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. Canada was the first country to pass this form of legislation in order to supplement war reparations that Russia is unlikely to pay.


20 December:

  • The World Bank announces approval of a new financing package to boost relief and recovery efforts in Ukraine. $500 million will be lent to cover expenditures related to child and family benefits, salaries for public employees, and utility payments. An additional $100 million will go to medical institutions and to support mental health and rehabilitation services. $18 billion is being allotted for various grants.

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky travels with senior members of his cabinet to Bakhmut to hand-deliver awards to forces on the frontlines.


21 December:

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky conducts his first out-of-country visit since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February. He meets with President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. before addressing a joint session of Congress. During his engagements, Zelensky calls for additional security assistance while also reiterating his proposal for a global peace summit to achieve progress via the Ukrainian Peace Formula.

  • President Joe Biden announces another assistance package to Ukraine, posting via social media: "Today, I’m announcing the next tranche of security assistance to Ukraine: A $1.85 billion package that includes equipment and ammunition contracts. And a Patriot missile battery that we will train forces to operate as part of our efforts to strengthen Ukrainian air defense."

President Joe Biden accompanies President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival at the White House, 21 December 2022 (photo via Twitter @POTUS)


22 December:

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi meets chief of Russia’s Rosatom corporation Alexey Likhachev in Moscow for another round of negotiations aimed at establishing a demilitarized zone at the war-torn Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The two parties issued brief statements via SNS following the engagement:

    • IAEA DG Rafael Grossi: "Another round of necessary discussions on the creation of a protection zone for the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. It’s key that the zone focuses solely on preventing a nuclear accident. I am continuing my efforts towards this goal with a sense of utmost urgency."

    • Rosatom: "At the meeting, approaches to the creation of a zone of nuclear and physical nuclear safety at the Zaporozhye NPP were discussed. Significant similarity of positions on the draft declaration concerning the creation of such a zone was noted. The consultations will continue based on the understanding of the need for wording a mutually acceptable draft as soon as possible."

(left) shakes hands with Rafael Grossi (right) as the two meet to negotiate a safety and security zone at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (photo via Twitter @rafaelmgrossi)


23 December:

  • The IAEA issues an update on the situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The release suggests that negotiations on establishment of a "safety and security zone" at Zaporizhzhia are making headway. It adds that nine mobile generators have been delivered to the Nuclear Power Plant this month to augment external power supply in case of disruption from shelling.


24 December:

  • Russia's Ministry of Defense holds a briefing in Geneva on the sidelines of the 9th Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention in which they claim that Ukraine has been working on biological weapons with U.S. assistance. Separately, Russia's Chief of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Protection Force Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov accuses the U.S. government of shifting its biological weapons studies from Ukraine to other countries. He states the following: "According to the available information, the Pentagon actively transfers unfinished researches under Ukrainian projects to Central Asian and Eastern European states. Simultaneously, the US defense agency is building up cooperation with countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region: Kenya, Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand." Among Russia's many shifting arguments for invading Ukraine is the claim that Ukraine was threat owing to its WMD programs.


25 December:

  • Russia continues its barrages on civilian population centers that intensified on Christmas Eve, most notably in the recently liberated city of Kherson. Ukrainian officials decry the attacks, while the Russian-installed governor for occupied areas in Kherson claims that the strikes were false flag attacks.


26 December:

  • During his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky notes that 9 million Ukrainians remain without electricity despite the country's efforts to restore power in areas where Russian attacks have destroyed infrastructure.


27 December:

  • In an interview with local television, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Haluschenko reveals the negotiating gap over Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. He explains that Russia wants to swap combat soldiers for National Guardsmen and to maintain Rosatom management; meanwhile, Ukraine wants complete demilitarization and restoration of Energoatom control.

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. The bodies of 42 fallen Ukrainian soldiers are returned for an undisclosed number of Russian remains. Ukrainian Commission for Missing Persons Oleg Kotenko states the following: "The work on exchanges is nonstop every day. Despite the fact that the negotiation process is complicated and long, we are trying to speed it up. We understand that every family is waiting for the return and honoring of the defenders. We will bring everyone back."


28 December:

  • First Deputy Head of Russia's Presidential Administration Sergey Kiriyenko visits Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The visit was reportedly to check the safety of the facility and the working conditions of Rosatom employees. The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately issues a protest to the Russian government.

Senior Russian official Sergey Kiriyenko visits the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, 28 December 2022

  • In a discussion with journalists, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dismisses the "Ukrainian Peace Formula" and asserts that peace is not possible unless Ukraine accepts that the illegally annexed territories belong to Russia. He states the following:

To begin with, so far, there is no Ukrainian 'peace plan' of any kind...And again, no Ukrainian 'peace plan' is possible if it does not take into account the modern reality--with Russia's territory, with four new regions joining Russia...Any plan that does not take into account these circumstances cannot claim to be a peace plan.

  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announces that Russia will restrict the supply of Russian oil if foreign parties impose price caps. The EU, G7 members, and Australia agreed to a $60 per barrel ceiling for Russian oil imports. The Kremlin reports that on 27 December, Vladimir Putin signed a presidential decree on retaliatory measures related to these price caps.

  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov states via social media that Russia has deported more than 13,000 children from Ukrainian territory. His post reads as follows:

russia deported more than 13,000 [Ukrainian] children. The 4th Geneva Convention calls for the facilitation of renewing contact & meeting of family members. But the goal of the "russian world" is different--to kill millions of Ukrainians & make their children russian


29 December:

  • Ukrainian Presidential Advisor and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak states that Russia launched over 120 missiles at Kyiv. He posts via Social Media: "120+ missiles over [Ukraine] launched by the 'evil Russian world' to destroy critical infrastructure & kill civilians en masse. We’re waiting for further proposals from 'peacekeepers' about 'peaceful settlement', 'security guarantees for [the Russian Federation]' & undesirability of provocations."


30 December:

  • The IAEA provides an update on the status of Ukraine's nuclear power plants following substantial Russian missile attacks. They report that reserve power line to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was damaged and shut down, leaving only one of four reserve lines operational. Meanwhile, they report that the country’s three other nuclear power plants were in the process of restoring their electrical power production levels following a decrease in output after missile attacks on 29 December.


31 December:

  • Russian-backed leader of the illegally annexed Luhansk People's Republic Leonid Pasechnik claims that there are over 1200 captured Ukrainians remaining in POW camps in Luhansk.

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct a New Year's Eve prisoner exchange. 82 Russians are returned for 140 Ukrainians and 1 service dog--a pit bull that was captured at the Azovstal Steel Complex in Mariupol.

Ukrainians released during the New Year's Eve prisoner exchange, 31 December 2022 (photos via Andriy Yermak and the Coordination Headquarters for the treatment of POWs)


3 January:

  • Volodymyr Zelensky chairs a meeting with key staff to discuss the way ahead for military operations. Attending this meeting included the following:

    • Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak

    • Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov

    • Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov

    • Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhny

    • Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate Kyrylo Budanov

    • Head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine Oleksandr Lytvynenko

    • Commander of the Ground Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi

    • Minister of Internal Affairs Denys Monastyrskyi

    • Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba

    • Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine - Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov

    • Acting Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Vasyl Malyuk

    • Operational commanders of the Armed Forces, other members of the Government, and other heads of security and law enforcement agencies


5 January:

  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks with Volodymyr Zelensky by phone. The two discuss many of the same points raised during Erdoğan's call with Putin earlier in the day, with Erdoğan stating his willingness to support the Ukrainian Peace Formula.

  • Ukrainian Presidential Advisor and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak responds to the Russian Orthodox Church's call for a Christmas truce, posting the following:

[The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC)] is not an authority for global Orthodoxy & acts as a "war propagandist." ROC called for the genocide of Ukrainians, incited mass murder & insists on even greater militarization of [the Russian Federation]. Thus, ROC's statement about "Christmas truce" is a cynical trap & an element of propaganda.

  • Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill calls for a Christmas Truce from 1200 on 6 January to 2400 on 7 January.

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaks with Vladimir Putin by phone, calling directly for a unilateral ceasefire to support the negotiation process and noting the positive outcomes of Turkish mediation during the war. Full readout from the engagement is below:


6 January:

  • Russian forces halt combat operations at 1200 for a Christmas truce. Russian media announces that Vladimir Putin authorized the ceasefire on 5 January, along with urges from the Russian government to allow Orthodox believers to attend services on the Holy Night and Christmas.


7 January:

  • Ukrainian officials claim that Russia did not honor its own pledge for a Christmas truce, striking multiple targets throughout the designated 36-hour period.


8 January:

  • Ukrainian officials denounce a decision by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to disband the fact finding mission for the explosion at the Olenivka detention center where dozens of Ukrainian prisoners were killed. The UN reportedly justified the decision by claiming that it could not receive security guarantees from Russia. Presidential Advisor and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak lashes out at the Secretary General, posting the following on SNS:

Reasons why the war goes on.

1. [UN Secretary General Antonio] Guterres disbanded the mission investigating the killing of Olenivka prisoners.

2. [Russian Federation] doesn't give the UN mission security guarantees & access to the site.

3. [Russian Federation] is a UNSC member. But Guterres doesn't offer to punish [Russia as if nothing happened.

  • Turkish Presidential Advisor Ibrahim Kalin asserts that Turkey is working to extend the Russian ceasefire beyond the 36-hour "Christmas Truce." During his phone call with Vladimir Putin earlier in the week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged his Russian counterpart to accept a unilateral ceasefire as a means of advancing the negotiation process.


9 January:

  • Russian Human Rights Commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova confirms that she is in talks with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Lubinets to meet in Turkey from 12 to 14 January. She states: "I confirm that I’m planning to hold this meeting. There will be a major forum on the territory of Turkey that the Turkish commissioner is organizing. And we have spoken about the potential for a meeting and a tentative agenda." This will be the first face-to-face meeting for the two since 18 October when they met during a negotiated prisoner exchange.

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange. 50 Ukrainians are swapped for 50 Russians in the first exchange of 2023.

Ukrainian soldiers pose for a photo after being released from captivity, 9 January 2023 (photo via the Ukrainian Coordination HQ for the Treatment of POWs)


10 January:

  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba travels with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock to Kharkiv. His main purpose is to convince the German government to supply Ukraine with additional weaponry; namely, Leopard tanks. [Note: to this point, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has stated that Germany will not deliver tanks to Ukraine, so as not to escalate the war.]

Dmytro Kuleba and Annalena Baerbock walk through war-torn Kharkiv, 10 January 2022 (photo via Twitter @DmytroKuleba)


11 January:

  • The Human Rights Commissioners of Ukraine and Russia meet in Turkey sooner than expected. They reportedly agree to exchange another 80 prisoners (40 from each side) while reaffirming the need to facilitate ICRC activities.


12 January:

  • Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar states that his government is working with the UN to hold a "peace summit" at the Secretariat building in New York on 24 February (the one year anniversary of the war). The goal for the summit is to advance international efforts towards the 10-point peace plan outlined in the "Ukrainian Peace Formula."


13 January:

  • Ukraine's Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets completes his third round of negotiations with his Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova. He announces the following points:

    • They discussed the initiative to accelerate and deepen the return of our prisoners of war and the release of civilian detainees.

    • They have created categories for civilian detainees: (1) those detained by Russia from 2014 to 24 February 2022, including on the territory of Crimea (158 people); (2) those detained in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (373 people); and (3) those detained in the territories that were temporarily occupied or are under Russian occupation since 24 February 2022 (e.g., in the Kyiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions).

    • They agreed that the Russian Federation would consider a proposal for the complete and unabated repatriation of wounded servicemen on the basis of the Geneva Conventions.

    • The Ukraine side handed over lists of civilians (out of 20,000) for whom they have no information on where they are, in what condition they are, or whether they need medical assistance, etc.

    • They discussed the issue of repatriation of forcibly deported children to Ukraine.


14 January:

  • Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of POWs announces that the Russian side has cancelled the negotiated prisoner exchange that was scheduled to take place on 14 January. The Headquarters states, "The enemy continues to make efforts to shake Ukrainian society from the inside, using the grief of families...A brutal and bloody war started by Putin's Russia continues."

  • Turkish presidential advisor and spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin states that Turkey is "willing to push for local ceasefires and small localized de-escalations." In recent weeks, the Turkish government has stepped up its shuttle diplomacy in efforts to revive political-level ceasefire negotiations.

  • Russian forces strike an apartment building in Dnipro, killing at least 12 people. At the same time, Russia carries out its largest attack against Ukraine's energy infrastructure since 10 October 2022, disrupting energy supplies to 6 oblasts (provinces).


15 January:

  • Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets announces the results of the three-day round of negotiations with Russian Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova (and observed by Turkish ombudsman Sheref Malkoc. His key points are included below:

    • The parties are working on the creation of a humanitarian corridor to facilitate the exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees. In particular, the two sides would seek to use this corridor for the transport of the seriously wounded, elderly people, and children.

    • The Ukraine side pressed the Russia side on the need to return seriously injured persons to Ukraine without any conditions as required by Article 110 of the Geneva Convention. The Ukrainian team delivered a list with the names of 800 seriously wounded Ukrainian servicemen. [Note: this led to reporting that the two sides had agreed to an exchange of 800 seriously wounded Ukrainians for 200 wounded Russians, but Moskalkova later denied that any such agreement occurred.]

    • The Ukraine side once again raised the issue of persons who have been detained since 2014, noting that there are 377 known prisoners. They also discussed the 158 Ukrainians being held as political prisoners by the Kremlin, many of whom are Crimean Tartars.

    • Finally, the two sides discussed the return of forcibly deported Ukrainian children.


16 January:

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi announces the deployment of additional support personnel to Ukraine. Grossi is overseeing the plus-up that will ensure 11-12 IAEA experts are at the country's nuclear facilities at any given time.


17 January:

  • The IAEA launches IAEA Support and Assistance Missions at the Rivne and South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plants. They will do the same at Chornobyl and Khmelnitsky next.


18 January:

  • Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of POWs announces development in the negotiation process for the repatriation of prisoners. They state the following:

The ombudsmen of Ukraine and Russia have developed an official communication channel through which Ukrainians can apply to find relatives and loved ones who have disappeared under special circumstances...The Ukrainian Ombudsman will process such appeals together with the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation. Appropriate agreements were reached during the ombudsmen's negotiations in Ankara. [Note: to this point, such communication has been conducted via the ICRC as an intermediary]


19 January:

  • The European Parliament passes a resolution to establish a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine. The resolution recognizes that the exact composition and methods of operation of the special tribunal remain to be determined, but calls for EU institutions and member states to "seek and build political support in the UN General Assembly and other international forums, including the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the G7, for creating the special tribunal for the crime of aggression against Ukraine." The full text of the resolution is available to download below:

European Parliament_Establishment of a tribunal on the crime of aggression against Ukraine
Download • 137KB

20 January:

  • Members of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine complete demining training in Cambodia. The five-day training took place with financial and materiel support from Japan, and Cambodia will deploy experts to Poland for additional training opportunities.

Ukrainian officials undergo demining training in Cambodia, 15-20 January 2023 (photos via JICA)

  • Ukraine and its partners conduct "Ramstein 8" at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, the eighth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. They discuss additional military assistance to Ukraine, with the primary sticking point being the delivery of tanks. The German government is still withholding the provision of Leopard tanks to Ukraine, with media reports suggesting that Germany refuses to deliver Leopards until the U.S. government delivers M-1 Abrams tanks.

  • Ukrainian nuclear energy operator Energoatom issues a statement noting that the Russian occupation authorities at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant have filtered out so many employees that they no longer have sufficient manpower to operate the plant. The full statement is below:


21 January:

  • Ukrainian domestic media reports that the Defense Ministry is buying food at inflated prices, suggesting a possible corruption scheme. According to reports, the Ministry is purchasing food at prices two to three times higher than market value. The Zelensky administration promises swift investigation of these allegations. [Note: These allegations matter since potential corruption is an issue both for Ukraine's accession to the European Union and for provision of security assistance from foreign partners.]


22 January:

  • Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers dismisses Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Development Vasyl Lozynskiy, who was detained and accused of receiving a $400,000 bribe. According to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, Lozynskiy received the money as payment for facilitating embezzlement of funds meant for the purchase of generators and other energy supply equipment.

  • Renat Karchaa, adviser to the chief executive of Rosatom nuclear power operator, tells Russian state media that the primary sticking point in negotiations for a "safety and security zone" (demilitarized zone) at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is an implementation mechanism. He states the following:

The parties being unanimous in their opinion to establish a security zone is not a solution. Implementation mechanisms, rather than declarations, are needed to establish such a zone. And it's quite a way to go from having a shared understanding to reaching an agreement. There have been plenty of simulations, but this is not how it works...Any agreements are absolutely worthless unless they imply shared responsibility of the parties.


23 January:

  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announces that "Ramstein 9" (the ninth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contacg Group) will take place in February. He posts: "Back home after Ramstein 8.


24 January:

  • In response to questions about a proposed non-aggression pact with Belarus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky states the following: "We were not going to and are not going to attack Belarus. This is the main signal from the entire Ukrainian people to the Belarusian people. It is very important for us that Belarus does not lose its independence and does not join this disgraceful war despite anyone’s influence...As for the Russian troops, who may be on any territory of any state: they believe that they have such a ‘military schengen.’ Therefore, it all depends, as it seems to me, on the respect of the population of any country for their state, as well as respect for the leadership of a particular state, which may or may not let armed people into its territory."

  • Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov resigns over corruption allegations. Shapovalov denies the allegations, but is at the center of the controversy as the defense official responsible for procurement.

  • During a meeting with government officials to discuss the crime rate and the social and political situation in the country, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claims that the Zelensky administration proposed a non-aggression pact with his government. Noting that Ukraine continues to train "militants and extremists," Lukashenko states, "I don't know why Ukraine needs this. On the one hand, they ask us not to send troops to Ukraine. They suggest a non-aggression pact. On the other hand, they are preparing this explosive mixture and arming [these militants and extremists]."


25 January:

  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announces that the German government has approved the delivery of Leopard tanks to Ukraine. The German government had previously held out on this decision, with media reporting that the Olaf Scholz administration would only relent if the United States delivered M1A1 Abrams tranks to Ukraine as well.


26 January:

  • The U.S. Department of Defense announces that in a call with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin discussed the provision of M1A1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.


27 January:

  • Dmytro Lubinets and Tatyana Moskalkova conduct another round of negotiations on POW exchanges and repatriation of forcibly deported citizens via video teleconference. Turkish ombudsman Şeref Malkoç facilitates this engagement, reprising the role he played in Ankara two weeks ago.

Representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey conduct a video teleconference to continue negotiations on POW exchanges, 27 January 2023


28 January:

  • Ukrainian National Security Council and Defense Council Secretary Oleksii Danilov announces that the Ukrainian government expects Russia to initiate a new offensive wave on 24 February. He states that the Russians have been testing Ukraine's defense capabilities near Zaporizhzhia.


29 January:

  • The UK Defense Ministry announces that Ukrainian tank crews have arrived in the country to begin training on tanks that are being donated to support Ukraine's counteroffensive.


30 January:

  • The French and Australian governments announce that they are launched a joint artillery shell production initiative. The intent is to produce several thousand artillery shells for Ukraine in a multi-million dollar project.


31 January:

  • In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky announces that Denmark will be joining the "Grain from Ukraine" program, which enables the distribution of Ukrainian grain to impoverished countries. Zelensky also notes that Denmark has pledged to aid in the reconstruction of Mykolaiv.


1 February:

  • As Ukrainian Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets engages Council of Europe counterparts, Russia's Ombudsperson for Human Rights Tatyana Moskalkova overtly accuses the Ukraine side of slowing the negotiation process for POW exchanges. She states the following:

I am very concerned to see that the process of prisoner exchange with Ukraine is not going as we would like tit to. For over ten months, Kyiv has been removing a lot of Ukrainian service members, mostly privates and sergeants, from exchange lists, putting many on the list of those missing...Unfortunately, the Ukrainian authorities put political gains above mercy and humanity. As for exchange lists, the advantage is usually given to media personalities, while they took little interest in common servicemen.


2 February:

  • The DailyNK reports that North Korea intends to deploy soldiers or police personnel currently stationed with trading companies in Russia to the illegally annexed territories in Ukraine to participate in reconstruction efforts. According to the outlet's source, the DPRK government aims for the personnel to arrive in mid-February or March.


3 February:

  • Russian Permanent Representative to Vienna-based international organizations Mikhail Ulyanov tells Russian state media that IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi will travel to Moscow in the "second half of next week" to continue negotiations on the establishment of a safety and security zone at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

  • During a press conference, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu signals his government's interest in gaining a longer extension for the Black Sea Grain Initiative. He states, "We continue to exert efforts to extend the grain deal which expires in March. We hope that it will be extended and this time for a longer period." To this point, the Initiative has only been concluded for four-month intervals.


4 February:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange and remains repatriation. A total of 179 prisoners are swapped. Of the 116 that returned to Ukraine, 114 were privates or sergeants, ranks the Russia side publicly accused Ukraine of ignoring in negotiations. In addition to the exchange, the bodies of several foreign-born fighters are repatriated to Ukraine.

Scenes from the Ukraine side of the 4 February repatriation (photo via Ukraine's Coordination Headquarters on the Treatment of POWs)


5 February:

  • Ukrainian domestic media indicates that Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov will likely be dismissed from his position during the coming week. The Defense Ministry is under intense scrutiny for its role in corruption schemes that have diverted money away from soldiers, equipment, and supplies. A government source suggested that Reznikov will not leave the cabinet; rather, he would be moved to another ministerial position. This is the latest development in the Zelensky administration's crackdown on corruption inside the government and Verkhova Rada (parliament).


6 February:

  • Ukrainian MP and leader of Volodymyr Zelensky's political faction David Arakhamia announces via social media that reshuffling of Ukraine's defense leadership is confirmed:

    • Oleksii Reznikov will become the Minister for Strategic Industries (but will still partake in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group)

    • Major General Kyrylo Budanov will take over as Minister for Defense

    • Vasyl Malyuk will lead the SBU


7 February:

  • Oleksii Reznikov rejects the notion that he is being reshuffled, stating that he would not take the Minister for Strategic Industries position even if offered because he lacks expertise. Arakhamia is forced to rescind his previous announcement, stating that all defense personnel will remain in place at this time.


8 February:

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky embarks on only his second foreign visit since the Russian invasion began last year. His first leg takes him to the United Kingdom, where he signs the “UK-Ukraine Declaration of Unity” with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. [Full text of the agreement below]


9 February:

  • IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi begins the next round of negotiations on the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone (demilitarized zone) at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. This round takes place in Moscow, where he meets Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachev for his first day of meetings. Grossi is scheduled for two days of negotiations.

Alexey Likhachev (left) and Rafael Mariano Grossi (right) meet for negotiations on 9 February 2023 (photo via Twitter @rafaelmgrossi)


10 February:

  • The White House announces that President Joe Biden will travel to Poland from 22 to 24 February. The full announcement is below:

From February 20th – 22nd, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to Poland. He will meet with President Andrzej Duda of Poland to discuss our bilateral cooperation as well as our collective efforts to support Ukraine and bolster NATO’s deterrence. He will also meet with the leaders of the Bucharest Nine (B9), a group of our eastern flank NATO Allies, to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering support for the security of the Alliance. In addition, President Biden will deliver remarks ahead of the one year anniversary of Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, addressing how the United States has rallied the world to support the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and democracy, and how we will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes.

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated remains repatriation. Ukraine receives 61 bodies of fallen soldiers for an undisclosed number of Russian remains.


11 February:

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky issues a decree firing the Deputy Commander of Ukraine's National Guard Ruslan Dziuba. Although no justification was listed in the decree, this move comes as the government is attempting to root out corruption, especially within military logistics networks.

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with J.P. Morgan personnel via VTC to discuss Ukraine’s reconstruction. Reportedly, the group discusses efforts to cultivate private capital and investment focused on rebuilding the country and fostering agricultural, green energy, and IT projects.


12 February:

  • In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky notes the rising energy consumption amidst continued Russian attacks. He informs the Ukrainian people of additional scheduled outages, giving praise to electricians and other workers for their efforts to restore power across the country.


13 February:

  • Head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office Andriy Yermak chairs a unilateral working group meeting on the establishment of war tribunals. The Ukrainian officials discuss what mechanisms might be possible for setting up these tribunals, noting that it will be necessary to tailor prescriptions to each country willing to participate in this process. War tribunals is one of the ten issue areas identified in the Ukrainian Peace Formula.

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky presides over a personnel reshuffling. Although Oleksii Reznikov is not moved out of his post as Minister of Defense as previously announced, Vasyl Malyuk takes over as the head of the SBU (Security Service).


14 February:

  • The 9th meeting of the “Ukraine Defense Contact Group” commenced in Brussels. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reportedly promises to ensure that Ukrainian forces are sufficiently equipped for launching a springtime counteroffensive against Russian occupation forces.


15 February:

  • The 9th meeting of the "Ukraine Defense Contact Group" concludes, with the biggest lingering request from Ukraine being the delivery of new fighter jets to the Ukrainian armed forces, including F-16s from the United States and Typhoons from the UK.


16 February:

  • The Slovakian parliament passes a resolution recognizing the current Russian government as a terrorist regime and designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko states that he is still ready to provide Belarusian territory for the invasion of Ukraine, but he rules out the direct participation of Belarusian troops except in the case of Ukrainian aggression against Belarus.


17 February:

  • Ukraine and Russia conduct another negotiated prisoner exchange, with each side returning 101 prisoners (including the deputy mayor of Enerhodar, the city that is home to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant). This brings the total number of Ukrainians repatriated since the invasion began up to 1863.


18 February:

  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba meets with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. Previously, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was planning to visit Kyiv, but that plan fell through when members of his administration leaked details of the trip to the press. Hayashi’s meeting takes place as Japan holds the G7 presidency.


19 February:

  • In his nightly address, President Volodymyr Zelensky indicates that the EU is preparing the tenth package of sanctions to impose against Russia. He states the following:

The next EU sanctions package--the tenth one already--is now being prepared. We are working with our partners to strengthen it. But we are also working with other actors in global relations. Sanctions for terror are something where the efforts of every responsible state can push the global process forward. And it will be so.


20 February:

  • President Joe Biden arrives in Kyiv earlier than scheduled for his trip; he is the first sitting U.S. president to visit Ukraine’s capital since 2008. The White House issues a statement on the visit, which includes the following passage:

Today, in Kyiv, I am meeting with President Zelenskyy and his team for an extended discussion on our support for Ukraine. I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments. And I will share that later this week, we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine. Over the last year, the United States has built a coalition of nations from the Atlantic to the Pacific to help defend Ukraine with unprecedented military, economic, and humanitarian support – and that support will endure.


21 February:

  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reveals that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi informed him of China’s proposal for a peace plan: “Mr. Wang Yi, he shared with me key elements of the Chinese peace plan. We are looking forward to receiving the text because this is not something that you can make your conclusions are just hearing what this plan is about…once we receive this paper we will thoroughly examine it and come with our own conclusions.”

  • As the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, Vladimir Putin delivers a state of the union address. In it, he blames the West for provoking the war, denounces the delivery of weapons to Kyiv, and asserts that Russia is suspending its New START obligations.


22 February:

  • Ukraine's Minister of Restoration Yuriy Vaskov tells Reuters in an interview that negotiations for extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative will resume this week. During this round of negotiations, Ukaine intends to pursue a one-year extension with additional ports (including Mykolaiv) for shipment. He states the following:

A formal proposal will come out from us this week on the need to work on an extension. We will extend it not for 120 days but for at least one year because the Ukrainian and global agricultural market needs to be able to plan these volumes [of exports] in the long term.


23 February:

  • During an emergency session, the UN General Assembly passes a resolution defining the principles for a just an lasting peace in the Russia-Ukraine War. The resolution incorporates some but not all elements of the "Ukrainian Peace Formula."

  • Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin tells state media that Ukrainian forces are storing weapons and munitions at their Nuclear Power Plants. This claim comes as IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi is attempted to negotiate a demilitarized zone at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Of note, the IAEA now maintains Support and Assistance Missions as each of Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plants and has not issued any claims of Ukrainian armed forces operating in or around those facilities. Despite the IAEA's ability to fact-check these accusations, Galuzin states the following:

The Russian side has released undeniable evidence that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are storing weapons and ammunition provided by Western countries at their nuclear power plants. This allows Kiev to amass military aid under the cover of nuclear power plants without the risk of destruction…We immediately brought this information to the attention of the international community, particularly the IAEA leadership.



bottom of page