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Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of waging a proxy war in Ukraine on Thursday and said the world should know the war is just beginning, nearly five months after launching the invasion.
“Everybody should know that largely speaking, we have not even yet started anything in earnest,” Putin told parliamentary leaders.
“The course of history is unstoppable, and attempts by the collective West to enforce its version of the global order are doomed to fail.”
For the first time in weeks, Putin also claimed that Russia is willing to sit down for peace talks with Ukraine, warning that “the longer it lasts the more difficult it will be for them to make a deal with us.”
Ukraine has put up a fierce defense of its territory, backed up by billions worth of Western arms that the US and allies have sent to repel Russian forces.
UKRAINE WAS VICTIM BRUTALIZED BY RUSSIAN MILITARY RECOVERING MONTHS LATER
Russia’s overtures at peace talks, meanwhile, are likely empty gestures, US officials have said in recent weeks.
“We have not seen any interest on the part of Vladimir Putin in engaging in any kind of meaningful diplomatic initiative,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last week at the NATO Public Forum.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, listed Ukraine’s conditions for peace on Sunday, including a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops, the return of kidnapped citizens, and other measures.
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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shifted to the eastern Donbas in recent months after Putin’s forces failed to take the capital of Kyiv in the early days of the war.
The Russian military claimed victory in the Luhansk province earlier this week and is conducting an offensive in the other Donbas province, Donetsk.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.