Moscow, December 23
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia was aiming for a speedy end to the conflict in Ukraine and that fighting should end as soon as possible, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).
“Our goal is… to end this conflict. We are striving for this and will continue to strive… so we will seek to make sure that it all ends, and the sooner, the better,” Putin told reporters.
Putin’s comments were met with scepticism by Ukraine and its allies.
White House spokesman John Kirby said Putin had “shown absolutely zero indication that he’s willing to negotiate”, an end to the war that began with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, reported SMH.
“Quite the contrary,” Kirby told reporters during an online briefing, adding, “Everything he (Putin) is doing on the ground and in the air bespeaks a man who wants to continue to visit violence upon the Ukrainian people (and) escalate the war.” Meanwhile, the Russian President said a speedy end to the conflict in Ukraine would inevitably involve a diplomatic solution.
Russia has persistently said it is open to negotiations. Still, Ukraine and its allies suspect it as Moscow’s ploy to buy time after a series of Russian defeats and retreats, reported SMH.
“I have said many times: the intensification of hostilities leads to unjustified losses,” Putin told reporters.
“All armed conflicts end one way or another with some negotiations on the diplomatic track,” he said, adding, “Sooner or later, any parties in a state of conflict sit down and make an agreement. The sooner this realisation comes to those who oppose us, the better. We have never given up on this.” Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy returned to Ukraine buoyed by the support shown by President Joe Biden on his trip to Washington, his first foreign journey since Russia invaded its neighbour.
Notably, US Congress moved closer on Thursday to approve an additional USD 44.9 billion in the emergency military and economic assistance, part of a wider US government spending bill. That is on top of some USD 50 billion already sent to Ukraine this year, reported SMH.
The Biden administration announced another USD 1.85 billion in military aid for Ukraine, including the Patriot system.
Zelenskyy told the Congress that US aid to his country was an investment in democracy and Patriot system was an important step in creating an air shield.
However, Putin played down the significance of the Patriot air defence system. He said it was ‘quite old’ and did not work like Russia’s S-300 system. “An antidote will always be found,” he said, boasting Russia would ‘crack’ the Patriots.
“So those who do it are doing it in vain. It’s just prolonging the conflict, that’s all,” he said.