Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine was only likely to start peace talks when it ran out of resources and then Kyiv would use any potential cessation of hostilities to rearm again with the help of West. Speaking at an economic forum in Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok, the Russian leader said Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Moscow’s forces had so far failed and that the Ukrainian army had sustained heavy losses.
“I have the impression that they want to bite off as much as they can and then, when their resources are close to zero, to achieve a cessation of hostilities and start negotiations in order to replenish their resources and restore combat capability,” Vladimir Putin said.
Many potential mediators have asked if Russia was ready to stop fighting, he said adding that Russia could hardly stop fighting when it was facing a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
For there to be any chance of talks, Ukraine would first have to cancel its self-imposed legal ban on peace talks and explain what it wanted, he asserted.
“Then we shall see,” Vladimir Putin said.
At present, Russia is estimated to control about 18% of Ukrainian territory, including Crimea which it annexed in 2014. It also annexed a swathe of eastern and southern Ukraine in 2022. For several months, Ukraine has been battling to try to regain some of that territory and has retaken some villages but not yet made significant breakthroughs.
Vladimir Putin also said that the West’s decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions was a crime, criticising the West’s decision to supply Ukraine with F-16 jets.
Asked if Russia needed to introduce a new compulsory mobilisation, Vladimir Putin said that 1,000 – 1,500 Russians were signing voluntary contracts to join the military every day. Over the past six or seven months, 270,000 people had signed voluntary contracts, he said.