Diplomatic solution could end Ukraine war, says Vladimir Putin

Russian President says his goal is to bring the conflict to a close - the sooner the better

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. Sputnik via AP
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he wants an end to the war in Ukraine and that this would inevitably involve a diplomatic solution.

His comments come a day after US President Joe Biden hosted Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the White House and promised him continued and unwavering support.

"Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict but, on the contrary, to end this war," Mr Putin said.

"We will strive for an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course."

White House spokesman John Kirby said Mr Putin had "shown absolutely zero indication that he's willing to negotiate" an end to the war, which began when Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

"Quite the contrary," Mr Kirby said. "Everything he 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".

He repeated that Mr Biden was open to talks with Mr Putin, but only after the Russian leader "showed a seriousness about negotiations" and after consultations with Ukraine and US allies.

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Russia has persistently said it is open to negotiations, but Ukraine and its allies suspect a ploy to buy time afterRussian defeats and retreats that have swung the momentum of the 10-month war in favour of Kyiv.

"I have said many times: the intensification of hostilities leads to unjustified losses," Mr Putin said.

"All armed conflicts end one way or another, with some kind of negotiations on the diplomatic track.

"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."

Russia says it is Ukraine that is refusing to talk. Kyiv says Russia must first halt its attacks and give up all of the territory it has seized.

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Mr Putin also played down the significance of the Patriot air-defence system that Mr Biden agreed to supply to Mr Zelenskyy, saying Russia would find a way to counter it.

He said it was "quite old" and did not work like Russia's S-300 system.

"An antidote will always be found," Mr Putin said, adding that Russia would "crack" the Patriots.

"So those who do it are doing it in vain. It's just prolonging the conflict, that's all."

Mr Putin also said a price cap imposed on Russian oil by western countries, designed to limit its ability to fund the war, would not damage the Russian economy.

He said he would sign a decree early next week to set out Russia's response.

Putin sounds out Russian military chiefs on progress of Ukraine war - video

Updated: December 23, 2022, 7:44 AM
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