Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday, July 7, that deliberate delays in seeking talks to resolve the Ukraine conflict will create a situation wherein talks will become difficult. He blamed the West for the delay in negotiations, claiming that the West was ready to fight Russians “until the last Ukrainian.” Putin was speaking to Russia’s parliamentary leaders.
He claimed that Western tactics in Ukraine are “tragic” for common Ukrainians. He also challenged the West’s repeated claims that Russia will see defeat in Ukraine. He said, “we haven’t even really started anything yet.”
The war in Ukraine which began on February 24 has entered its fifth month. Russian forces are now making advances in Ukraine’s south and east. They have complete control over Luhansk, one of the two Donbass republics which had sought assistance from Russia after declaring independence in February following a prolonged civil war. The Russian forces are now trying to take control over the remaining parts of Donetsk.
According to the UN, the war has so far led to the confirmed killing of close to 5,000 civilians. It has also led to massive destruction and caused the displacement of millions of people.
Peace efforts jeopardized by NATO
Reiterating that Russia’s efforts to create a fair international security system have been jeopardized by the West and NATO, Putin said that “the so-called collective West led by the US has been behaving exclusively aggressively with regards to Russia for decades. Our proposals on creating a system of equitable security in Europe were rejected, initiatives on joint work on the issue of anti-missile defense were declined and the warnings of the inadmissibility of NATO’s expansion, especially at the expense of the former Soviet Union Republics, were ignored,” Tass reported.
In a recently concluded summit in Madrid, NATO members agreed to deploy more troops to Russian borders, declaring it to be their main threat.
Repeating Russia’s readiness to talk, Putin claimed that the lack of any push for negotiations toward finding a peaceful resolution by Ukraine’s Western allies was a deliberate and tragic move. He said, “we do not refuse to negotiate peace, but those who refuse should know that the longer they do, the more difficult it will be to negotiate.”
Meanwhile, Ukraine refused to engage in talks with Russia until it withdraws all its forces. Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine’s chief negotiator, had tweeted earlier this week that Ukraine has set conditions before negotiations with Russia can resume.
Ceasefire. Z-troops withdrawal. Returning of kidnapped citizens. Extradition of war criminals. Reparations mechanism. 🇺🇦 sovereign rights recognition…The Russian side knows our conditions well. #Peskov’s boss may not worry: the time will come and we will record them on paper.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) July 3, 2022
Approving Podolyak’s points, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in an interview to CNN on Thursday, said that his countrymen are not ready to give away their land and to accept that these territories belong to Russia. “This is our land,” he said.
Zelensky also emphasized that NATO’s reluctance to give Ukraine membership is primarily responsible for the current war, and that he did not see any alternative to NATO membership as a “security guarantee” for his country.
Russia has taken exception to the fact that the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) countries, ongoing in Bali, Indonesia, has become yet another platform for Russia bashing. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western leaders of wasting time while trying to take a moral high ground against Russia, instead of using the meeting to discuss the increasing global economic hardships.
Lavrov claimed that Western countries “avoided following the mandate of G20 from dealing with issues of the world economy” and used the platform to gain legitimacy for their false claims about Russia, Tass reported.
Podolyak demanded on Thursday that Ukraine’s allies at the G20 meet ensure “complete economic and political isolation” of Russia.
What does Ukraine expect from the #G20 meeting? Leadership and solutions: Kremlin’s complete economic and political isolation. For Russian representatives, #G20Indonesia has to become a corridor of shame. Every civilized country should tell Russia about being a terrorist country.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) July 7, 2022
The G20 meeting started with host Indonesia asking for a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian crisis. However, the US and its allies tried to corner and isolate Russia by holding it solely responsible for the war in Ukraine. Countries such as India and China refused to take a similar line.
Lavrov dismissed such “frenzied” criticisms of his country, claiming that it is the US and its allies that are responsible for the prolonged war in Ukraine by refusing to push for talks and instead providing weapons and military aid to Ukraine.