Putin says peace talks with Ukraine deadlocked, prompts West

  • Peace talks stalled – Putin
  • The Western Economic Blitzkrieg Has Failed – Putin
  • Putin: Bucha fake as staged Syrian chemical attack
  • Russia will achieve ‘noble’ war goals – Putin

LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday peace talks with Ukraine were at an impasse, using his first public comments on the conflict in more than a week to vow his troops would win and to incite the West to having failed to bring Moscow to heel.

Addressing the war in public for the first time since Russian forces withdrew from northern Ukraine after being stopped at the gates of kyiv, Putin promised that Russia would achieve all of its “noble” goals in Ukraine.

In the strongest signal yet that the war will last longer, Putin said kyiv had derailed the peace talks by staging what he said were false Russian war crimes allegations and demanding guarantees of security to cover the whole of Ukraine.

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“We have again returned to a situation with no way out for us,” Putin, Russia’s supreme leader since 1999, told a news conference during a visit to the Vostochny cosmodrome 3,450 miles away (5 550 km) east of Moscow.

Asked by Russian space agency employees if the operation in Ukraine would achieve its goals, Putin replied: “Absolutely. I have no doubts at all.”

Russia, he said, would “rhythmically and calmly” continue its operation.

Putin said Russia had no choice but to fight because it had to defend Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine and prevent its former Soviet neighbor from becoming an anti-Russian springboard for Moscow’s enemies.

The West condemned the war as a brutal imperial-style land grab aimed at a sovereign country. Ukraine says it is fighting for its survival after Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 and on February 21 recognized two of its rebel regions as sovereign.

Putin has dismissed Western sanctions, which have pushed Russia into its worst economic contraction since the years following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, as a failure.

“This Blitzkrieg that our enemies were counting on didn’t work,” Putin said.

Putin, who had been ubiquitous on Russian television at the start of the war, had largely retreated from public view since Russia pulled out of northern Ukraine two weeks ago.

His only public appearance last week was at the funeral of a nationalist lawmaker, where he did not directly address the war. On Monday, he met the visiting Austrian Chancellor at a country residence outside Moscow, but no footage of the meeting has been released.

“BUCHA IS WRONG”

Putin dismissed Ukrainian and Western claims that Russia had committed war crimes as forgeries.

Since Russian troops withdrew from towns and villages around the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Ukrainian troops have shown reporters dead bodies of what they say were civilians killed by Russian forces, destroyed homes and burnt cars .

Reuters saw dead bodies in the town of Bucha but could not independently verify who was responsible for the killings. Ukraine says Russia is guilty of genocide and US President Joe Biden has accused Putin of war crimes and called for a trial.

Putin said he told Western leaders to give some thought to the US destruction of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State caliphate, and Afghanistan.

“Have you seen how this Syrian city was turned into rubble by American planes? Corpses lay in ruins for months decomposing,” Putin said. “Nobody cared. Nobody even noticed.”

“There was no such silence when provocations were staged in Syria, when they described the Assad government’s use of chemical weapons. Then it turned out to be untrue . It’s the same kind of fake in Bucha.” Read more

Putin, who says Ukraine and Russia are essentially one people, frames the war as an inevitable confrontation with the United States, which he accuses of threatening Russia by meddling in its backyard.

Sixty-one years to the day since the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin entered the history books by becoming the first man in space, Putin drew an analogy between Soviet space successes and Russia’s defiance today.

“The sanctions were total, the isolation was complete but the Soviet Union was still first in space,” said Putin, 69, recalling his own schoolboy wonder at learning of the feat.

“We don’t intend to be isolated,” Putin added. “It is impossible to severely isolate anyone in the modern world – especially a country as vast as Russia.”

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Writing by Guy Faulconbridge Editing by Peter Graff, Tomasz Janowski and Gareth Jones

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