Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the West of waging a proxy war in Ukraine and warned that the conflict is just beginning, nearly five months after the invasion began.
“Everybody should know that largely speaking, we haven’t 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.”
Putin also stated, for the first time in weeks, that Russia is willing to engage in peace talks with Ukraine, adding that “the longer the conflict continues, the more difficult it will be for them to reach an agreement with us.”
The U.S. and its allies have sent billions of dollars’ worth of Western arms to Ukraine to repel Russian forces, enabling it to mount a fierce defense of its territory.
In the meantime, US officials have said in recent weeks that Russia’s peace overtures are likely empty gestures.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated last week at the NATO Public Forum, “We have seen no indication that Vladimir Putin is interested in engaging in any kind of meaningful diplomatic initiative.”
Sunday, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podolyak, outlined Ukraine’s conditions for peace, including a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops, and the return of kidnapped citizens, among other measures.
In recent months, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shifted to the eastern Donbas after Putin’s forces failed to capture Kyiv in the early days of the conflict.
Earlier this week, the Russian military declared victory in the province of Luhansk and is currently conducting an offensive in the other province of Donbas, Donetsk.