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Strategic battlefield defeat would be end of Russia's statehood, Putin claims

by Martin Fornusek June 20, 2024 11:46 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his press conference after Russian-Vietnamese talks on June 20, 2024, in Moscow, Russia. Vladimir Putin is on a two-day visit to Vietnam. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on June 20 that the West is trying to push Russia toward a strategic defeat on Ukrainian battlefields, which would, according to him, mean the end of the Russian statehood.

"For Russia, this means the end of its statehood... This means the end of the thousand-year history of the Russian state. I think this is clear to everyone," Putin said at a press conference at the end of his state visit to Vietnam.

"Then the question arises: why should we be afraid? Isn’t it better to go to the end?"

The Kremlin chief claimed that Moscow is ready for negotiations but said that if Kyiv wants to connect the talks to the Russian withdrawal from Ukraine, "that will never happen."

Timothy Garton Ash: We’re at the beginning of a new era. What we do now is particularly important
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity. When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, it dramatically changed the continent. The largest conventional war in Europe since World War II demanded Western leaders move away from their peacetime thinking and…

A full Russian withdrawal is a key point in President Volodymyr Zelensky's peace formula. Several of its points were discussed last week during a global peace summit in Switzerland, where Russia was not invited.

Putin laid out his conditions for a ceasefire in Ukraine ahead of the summit on June 14, namely the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the four Ukrainian regions claimed – but not fully controlled – by the Kremlin.

The ultimatum was dismissed by Kyiv and its partners. Putin said this reaction was expected and added that Russia's demands may still change depending on the situation on the battlefield.

Ukraine and Switzerland said they are considering inviting a Russian representative to a subsequent peace summit to present them with a joint peace plan. Separately, China and Brazil pitched an alternative peace conference that would be recognized both by Kyiv and Moscow.

Russia considering changes to nuclear doctrine, Putin claims
Russia is considering changes to its nuclear doctrine due to developments “related to lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons,” Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed while speaking on June 20 in Vietnam, a day after his visit to North Korea.

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