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Putin says Russia is ready to negotiate on Ukraine, Kyiv says Moscow does not want negotiations

Putin says Russia is ready to negotiate on Ukraine, Kyiv says Moscow does not want negotiations

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  • Putin says the West is trying to break Russia
  • He blames Kyiv, the West, for refusing to negotiate
  • Ukraine: Putin must return to reality
  • He says that 99.9% of Russians are ready to defend the motherland

MOSCOW, Dec 25 (Reuters) – Russia is ready to negotiate with all parties involved in the war in Ukraine, but Kyiv and its Western backers have refused to engage in negotiations, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine sparked Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

So far, there is no end to the war in sight.

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 its territory, including Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

“We are ready to negotiate with all participants for acceptable solutions, but it depends on them – it is not us who refuse to negotiate, but them,” Putin told state-run Rossiya 1 television.

CIA Director William Burns said this month that while most conflicts end in negotiations, the CIA’s assessment is that Russia is not yet serious about real negotiations.

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Putin should come back to reality and admit that Russia does not want negotiations.

“Russia alone attacked Ukraine and killed citizens,” Mykhailo Podoliak wrote on Twitter. Russia does not want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility.

“NO OTHER CHOICE”

Relentless Russian attacks on power generation facilities since October have regularly left millions of Ukrainians without heat and water.

“The threat of enemy air and missile strikes on critical infrastructure facilities remains throughout the territory of Ukraine,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a Facebook message.

Russian troops shelled dozens of towns and front-line positions, the statement said, causing civilian casualties in the southern Kherson region. Moscow denies targeting civilians.

Putin said Russia was acting in the “right direction” in Ukraine because the West, led by the United States, was trying to split Russia.

“I believe we are acting in the right direction, protecting our national interests, the interests of our citizens, our people. And we have no choice but to protect our citizens,” Putin said.

Asked if the geopolitical conflict with the West was approaching a dangerous level, Putin said: “I don’t think it’s that dangerous.”

Putin said the West started the conflict in 2014 by toppling a pro-Russian Ukrainian president in the Maidan revolution protests.

Soon after, Russia annexed Crimea and Russian-backed separatist forces began fighting in eastern Ukraine.

“Actually, the main thing here is the policy of our geopolitical opponents, which is aimed at tearing apart Russia, historical Russia,” Putin said.

Putin has characterized what he calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine as a watershed moment for Moscow to finally stand up to the Western bloc, which he says has sought to destroy Russia since the collapse 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.

Putin described Russia as a “unique country” and said the vast majority of its people were united in their desire to protect it.

“As for the main part – 99.9% of our citizens, our people who are ready to give everything for the interests of the Motherland – for me there is nothing unusual here,” Putin said.

“This just once again convinces me that Russia is a unique country and that we have an exceptional people. This is confirmed throughout the entire history of Russia’s existence.”

Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kyiv and David Ljunggren in Ottawa Editing by Gareth Jones and Diane Craft

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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