December 22 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia wants an end to the war in Ukraine and that this would inevitably involve a diplomatic solution.
Putin made the comments a day after US President Joe Biden hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the White House and promised him continued and unwavering US support.
“Our goal is not to turn the wheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war,” Putin said. “We will do our best to put an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course.”
White House spokesman John Kirby said Putin has “shown zero indication that he is willing to negotiate” an end to the war, which began when Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.
“Quite the opposite,” Kirby told reporters during an online briefing. “Everything he (Putin) is doing on the ground and in the air speaks of a man who wants to continue to visit violence on the people of Ukraine” and “raise the war.”
Kirby reiterated that Biden was open to talks with Putin, but only after the Russian leader “demonstrated the seriousness of the negotiations” and after consultations with Ukraine and US allies.
Russia has consistently said it is open to negotiations, but Ukraine and its allies suspect they are keen to buy time after a series of Russian defeats and retreats that have thrown the momentum of the 10-month war in their favour. Kyiv.
“I have said it many times: there are unjustified losses as a result of the intensification of hostilities,” Putin told reporters.
“Every armed conflict ends in one way or another with some kind of negotiation on the diplomatic track,” he said. “Sooner or later, any parties in conflict sit down and make an agreement. The sooner this realization comes to those who oppose us, the better.
Russia says it is Ukraine that is refusing to talk. Kyiv says Russia must stop its attacks and give up all the territory it has captured.
Putin also described the importance of the Patriot air defense system that Biden agreed to provide to Zelenskiy, saying that Russia will find a way to counter it.
He said it was “pretty old” and didn’t work like the Russian S-300 system. “An antidote will always be found,” he said, boasting that Russia would “crack” the Patriots.
“So those who do it do it in vain. It’s just prolonging the conflict, that’s all.”
Putin also said that a price cap imposed by Western countries on Russian oil, designed to limit its ability to finance the war, would not harm the Russian economy. He said he will sign a decree early next week to outline Russia’s response.
(This story has been revised to fix the spelling of ‘reaffirm’ in paragraph 6)
Reporting by Reuters Mark Trevelyan wrote Editing by Peter Graff and Frances Kerry
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