- Putin says the West is trying to dismantle Russia
- Kyiv accuses the West of refusing to negotiate
- Ukraine: Putin needs to get back to reality
- Says 99.9% of Russians are ready to defend the Motherland
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that Russia was ready to negotiate with all parties involved in the war in Ukraine, but Kyiv and its Western backers refused to enter talks.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 triggered the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
So far, there is little end in sight to the war.
The Kremlin says it will fight until all its goals are achieved while Kyiv says it will not rest until every Russian soldier is expelled from all of its territory, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
“We are ready to negotiate with all interested parties about acceptable solutions, but it is up to them – we are not the ones who refuse to negotiate, they are,” Putin told state television Rossiya 1 in the interview.
CIA Director William Burns While most conflicts end in negotiations, he said in an interview published this month, the CIA’s assessment was that Russia was not yet serious about real negotiations to end the war.
An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Putin should return to reality and admit that it is Russia that does not want any negotiations.
Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter: “Russia single-handedly attacked Ukraine and is killing citizens.” “Russia does not want negotiations, but it is trying to avoid responsibility.”
“no other choice”
Putin said Russia was acting in the “right direction” in Ukraine because the West, led by the United States, was trying to divide Russia into parts. Washington denies it plans Russia’s collapse.
“I think we are acting in the right direction, we are defending our national interests, the interests of our citizens and our people. We have no other choice but to protect our citizens,” Putin said.
Asked if the geopolitical conflict with the West is approaching a dangerous level, Putin said: “I don’t think it is very serious.”
Putin said the West started the conflict in Ukraine in 2014 by overthrowing a pro-Russian president in the Maidan Revolution protests.
Soon after that revolution, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine and Russian-backed separatist forces began fighting the Ukrainian Armed Forces in eastern Ukraine.
“In fact, the main thing here is the policy of our geopolitical opponents, aimed at dismembering historical Russia,” Putin said.
Putin views what he calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine as a watershed moment when Moscow finally stood up to a Western bloc he says has been seeking to destroy Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Ukraine and the West say Putin has no justification for what they describe as an imperial-style war of occupation, which has sowed suffering and death across Ukraine.
Putin called Russia a “unique country” and said the vast majority of its people were united in the desire to defend it.
“As for the main part – 99.9% of our compatriots, our people who are ready to give everything for the interests of the Motherland – there is nothing unusual for me here,” said Putin.
“This once again convinces me that Russia is a unique country and that we have an exceptional people. This has been confirmed throughout the history of Russia’s existence.”
Additional reporting by Pavel Politiuk in Kyiv; Editing by Gareth Jones
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