Ukraine war: Russia’s Putin expects prolonged conflict with Kyiv, not betting on Trump in 2024 US election
- Putin said Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces had so far failed and the Ukrainian army had sustained heavy losses of 71,000 men in the attacks
- The Russian leader also said the prosecution of former US President Donald Trump was politically motivated and showed ‘rottenness’ of the US political system
Speaking for several hours at an economic forum in Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok, Putin said Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces had so far failed and the Ukrainian army had sustained heavy losses of 71,000 men in the attacks.
But he said Kyiv would use any cessation of hostilities “to replenish their resources and restore the combat capability of their armed forces.”
Putin said many potential mediators had asked him if Russia was ready to stop fighting but said that Russia could hardly do so when it was facing a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
For there to be any chance of talks, said Putin, Ukraine would first have to cancel its self-imposed legal ban on peace talks and explain what it wanted.
“Then we shall see,” Putin said.
The war has sown devastation across cities and the countryside, and killed or injured hundreds of thousands of combatants and civilians.
For several months, Ukraine has been battling to try to regain some of the lost territory and has retaken some villages but not yet made significant breakthroughs against heavily fortified Russian lines which are strewn with landmines.
Ukraine says it will not rest until every last Russian soldier is ejected from its land. The West says it wants to help Ukraine defeat Russia – an aim Kremlin officials say is an unrealistic pipe dream.
But the Kremlin chief said that no matter who won next year’s US election, he expected no change in Washington’s policy towards Russia.
“The will be no fundamental changes in the Russian direction in US foreign policy, no matter who is elected president,” Putin said. “The US authorities perceive Russia as an existential enemy.”
The West’s decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions was a crime, he said. Such supplies might prolong the war, he added, but they would not change its ultimate outcome.