Vladimir Putin told Kyiv to accept Moscow’s terms quickly or brace for worse, adding that Russia has only just begun its actions in Ukraine.
The Russian president also accused Western allies for fuelling hostilities, claiming that “the West wants us to fight until the last Ukrainian”.
During a meeting with the leaders of the Kremlin-controlled Parliament, he stated that “it’s a tragedy to the Ukrainian people but it seems like it’s headed in that direction.”
“Everybody should be aware that, largely speaking we haven’t yet started anything serious.”
He said Russia is ready to meet for talks to end the fighting, but that those who refuse to do so “should know that the longer the fighting continues the more difficult it will become for them to reach a deal with me”.
He added, “We are hearing them say they want to defeat our army on the battlefield.”
“Let them try.”
The Kremlin demands that Kyiv recognize Russian sovereignty over the Crimea Peninsula it annexed Ukraine in 2014.
It also demands the independence of Moscow-backed separatist areas in eastern Ukraine as well as an acceptance of the current situation on the ground. This refers to other land gains since the invasion on 24 February.
After failing to capture Kyiv, and other large cities in Ukraine’s northeast during the campaign, Russia’s military turned its attention to Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland. Donbas is where Moscow-backed separatists are fighting Ukrainian troops since 2014.
The Russian military took control of Luhansk, one of two regions that make up Donbas. It is now preparing for an offensive in the Donetsk region.
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Russia gained control of Zaporizhzhia and the southern Kherson regions in the early stages.
Moscow is expected try to cut Ukraine from its Black Sea coast to the Romanian border.
Putin reiterated his long-held belief that the West uses the conflict in Ukraine as a means to weaken and isolate Russia.
He said, “They don’t have such a country like Russia.”
“This is why they used terrorism, separatism, and internal destructive forces within our country.”
He claimed that Western sanctions against Russia had failed to accomplish their goal of “sowing discord and strife within our society and demoralizing our people”.
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“The course and history of the world is unstoppable, and any attempts by the West to enforce its version are doomed.”
These claims were dismissed by Mykhailo Polyak, Ukraine’s chief negotiator.
“There is no plan for a ‘collective West. He tweeted that only a certain z-army entered sovereign Ukraine, killing civilians and shelling cities.
“Everything else, it’s primitive propaganda. This is why the Russian genocide mantra of “war to the last Ukrainian” by Vladimir Putin is another example of deliberate Russian genocide.