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World News

Vladimir Putin says Ukraine war goals are unchanged – and there will be no peace until they’re achieved | World News

today14/12/2023

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President Putin has said Russia’s war goals remain unchanged and there won’t be peace in Ukraine until they are achieved.

He has been taking questions during a four-hour phone-in.

The Q&A had been a regular fixture on Russian television, but didn’t happen during the first year after the invasion in February 2022.

Ukraine war latest: Putin brands invasion ‘a civil war’ as he doubles down on aims

Mr Putin reiterated his goals were still the “de-Nazification, de-militarisation and a neutral status” of Ukraine.

“Peace will come when we reach our goals,” he told TV viewers and a Moscow studio audience.

Russia wants to keep Ukraine from joining NATO – something which would mean Western countries have to directly help defend it.

Meanwhile, Mr Putin’s claims of radicals and neo-Nazis being in control in Kyiv have long been derided by the West.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow, Russia December 14, 2023. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS
Vladimir Putin holds end-of-year news conference in Moscow
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Journalists in the studio also put questions to the president

The Russian leader said 617,000 troops, including 244,000 reservists, were in Ukraine and claimed the number signing up “is not diminishing”.

He claimed another call-up of amateur reservists – a move that saw some flee Russia last year – wasn’t necessary as 1,500 men are joining every day.

Mr Putin also said Ukraine’s stalled counteroffensive – which this summer aimed to win back territory and cut off Russian supply lines – had “failed everywhere”.

Ukrainian officials have conceded that progress has been disappointing, with only minor gains in the south near Kherson.

A Russian solider - said to be phoning in from Ukraine - also asked a question
Image:
A Russian solider – said to be phoning in from Ukraine – also asked a question

President Putin’s determination to continue – despite the heavy toll on his forces and tough international sanctions – comes after he confirmed he’s going for re-election again in March.

It also comes in a week that saw President Zelenskyy of Ukraine on a begging mission to America, pleading with his allies for billions more in military support and aid.

There is no certainty whatsoever he will get it because Republicans in the US House of Representatives are tying continued military aid to Ukraine to domestic concessions over immigration – something the Democrats have so far found unpalatable.

Meanwhile, Hungarian president Viktor Orban is also blocking the European Union giving €50bn (£43bn) in financial aid to Kyiv to support it as it continues its fight against Mr Putin’s troops.

Read more:
Are we ready for a world where Ukraine loses its war against Russia?

The 71-year Russian president also took a call from a soldier – apparently on the frontline in Ukraine – who told Mr Putin “victory is close”.

He asked whether the president would allow soldiers to educate children after the war – something he agreed to as “very relevant” and patriotic.

‘I could eat a dozen eggs at breakfast’ – Putin

The Kremlin said 2.1 million questions had been submitted to the highly-choreographed TV show.

A question from a pensioner on the rising price of eggs was among the more mundane issues the president was quizzed on.

An increase in salaries had pushed up demand, said Mr Putin.

“It’s very popular. I am very happy to eat them, sunny side up. I could eat a dozen of them at breakfast; well, what happened is there was greater demand, however the production did not [increase],” he said.

Read more:
Are we ready for a world where Ukraine loses war against Russia?
US help ‘coming to an end’ unless new funding approved – Biden

'A bad peace is better than a good quarrel. We should move in this direction. Peoples' lives are an unacceptable price'
Image:
‘A bad peace is better than a good quarrel. We should move in this direction. People’s lives are an unacceptable price’

Despite the questions being vetted, a couple of more awkward messages occasionally popped up on screens.

They included: “Don’t run for another term – let the young try”; “When will the life of ordinary people be better not in words, but in deeds?”; and “A bad peace is better than a good quarrel. We should move in this direction. People’s lives are an unacceptable price.”



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