Ukraine, Putin: “Russia will never give up territories”

The Russian president: “Kiev’s counteroffensive has failed”

Russia will never give up the territories acquired since the beginning of the war. If the conflict continues like this, Ukraine will collapse. And the scenario that Russian President Vladimir Putin outlines in the same hours in which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in Davos, launches yet another appeal to support Kiev against Moscow.

Putin says it is “impossible” to take away from Russia the military progress made on the ground, where Moscow’s forces “retain the initiative”. In a speech broadcast on television, the Kremlin leader reiterates his substantial no to the conditions that Kiev considers essential to achieve peace: for Putin, these are “prohibitive” ideas. Zelensky’s ten-point peace plan calls for the withdrawal of Russian forces, a cessation of hostilities and the restoration of Ukraine’s borders with Russia.

The counteroffensive of the Ukrainian military forces, he says, “has failed, and if it continues like this, the Ukrainian state will soon be called into question.” The Russian president, therefore, accuses Kiev of deliberately striking civilian targets in Russia, to demonstrate – to the Ukrainians and the countries that support Zelensky – that he is capable of responding to Moscow’s actions.

“People from the outside ask themselves: ‘Why are the authorities in Kiev doing what they are doing? They are bombing peaceful cities and towns and hitting squares. What is the military sense in this?’. None. Zero. Why do they do this? There is an answer. The first is to show their people and those who support them, those who provide money for weapons and ammunition, that they are capable of responding to Russia’s actions,” he continues.

In words, Russia is ready to negotiate and Putin criticizes Kiev’s refusal to negotiate. According to him, if the Ukrainian authorities had made the right decision, “everything would have ended a long time ago.” The positions, however, appear clearly irreconcilable. The territorial integrity of Ukraine is not in question for Zelensky.