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Putin: No Peace in Ukraine Until Russia Reaches Its Goals

Almost two years into his war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday smashed the hopes of anyone who thought Moscow might be open to negotiating a peace deal or reversing course.

Putin for the first time since the start of his full-scale assault on Ukraine fielded questions from ordinary Russians and the press.

The annual “direct line” televised Q&A is a rare opportunity for Russians to share their gripes with Putin, requesting everything from a new bus stop to better central heating — all while casting the president as a magnanimous problem solver who keeps local bureaucrats on their toes.

Last year, Putin skipped the event, amid Russia’s lack of progress on the battlefield in Ukraine.

In a survey conducted last month by the independent Levada Center pollster asking Russians which questions they’d want Putin to answer, a majority of respondents said they hoped to hear when the so-called special military operation, as Putin calls his war, and mobilization would end. 

Asked by the Russian host on Thursday, “when there will be peace,” Putin answered: “When we achieve our goals.” 

“I’ve spoken about them earlier: denazification and demilitarization,” he added, repeating the two terms he has used to describe the objectives of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which Putin launched in February 2022. 

Putin’s statement signals the Kremlin is standing firm, despite a death toll of tens of thousands on the battlefront and unprecedented Western sanctions. 

“Putin just now made a peace proposal to the West,” Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of political analysis firm R.Politik, said of the Russian president’s comments. “On the condition, of course, of Ukraine’s complete capitulation.” 

In a separate question on the prospect of Russia improving ties with the West, Putin struck a defensive tone, accusing Europe of acting as an accomplice to American “imperialist” ambitions and forcing regime change in Ukraine. 

“We didn’t ruin them,” he said of relations between Moscow and Brussels. “They did.” 

Source : Politico