Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Kyiv on Thursday to accept Moscow’s terms as soon as possible or prepare for the worst, adding ominously that Russia has only just begun its action in the nation.
Putin claimed that Western allies were igniting hostilities during a meeting with leaders of the Kremlin-controlled Russian parliament, asserting that “the West wants to fight us until the last Ukrainian.”
It’s a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, he continued, but it appears to be going in that direction.
Putin declared that Russia was prepared to engage in negotiations to put an end to the conflict, adding that “those who refuse to do so should know that the longer it lasts, the more difficult it will be for them to make a deal with us.”
They allegedly want to defeat us on the battlefield, he continued. Allow them to try.
The Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, and the independence of the separatist regions in eastern Ukraine that Moscow supports have both been demanded by the Kremlin in the past.
Moscow has also previously stated that it anticipates Ukraine to submit to the current ground reality, a reference to additional land gains made since Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24.
The Russian military turned its attention to the eastern industrial heartland of Donbas, where Moscow-backed separatists have fought Ukrainian forces since 2014, after early attempts to take Kiev and other major cities in northeastern Ukraine failed.
The Russian military asserted earlier this week that it is in control of Luhansk province, one of the two that make up Donbas, and that it is getting ready to intensify its offensive against Donetsk province.
Attempts by Moscow to cut off Ukraine from its Black Sea coast all the way to the Romanian border are anticipated. If successful, it would have devastating effects on the Ukrainian economy and open a route to Transnistria, the separatist region of Moldova where Russia keeps military bases.
Putin also reiterated his long-standing claim that the West is attempting to isolate and weaken Russia by using the conflict in Ukraine.
They simply don’t require a nation like Russia, he continued. “For this reason, they have turned to terrorism, separatism, and internal forces that are destructive to our nation.”
The West’s collective attempts to impose its vision of the world order are doomed to fail, Putin continued. “The course of history is unstoppable.”