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A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive could force Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate with Kyiv for an end to Russia's war on Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a press conference with Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani in Washington on June 12.
Blinken noted that the counteroffensive, which began on June 8, is still in its early days, and that it is "much too soon" to determine the full outcome. Blinken also underlined the widespread international support for Ukraine's counteroffensive and said that he is confident Ukraine will be successful in regaining its territory.
"It’s very important to note that, in terms of what President Putin was trying to achieve in Ukraine, it’s already been a strategic failure, because the objective that Putin had – that he stated himself – was to erase Ukraine from the map, to eliminate its independence, and to absorb Ukraine, in one fashion or another, into Russia. That has failed and it cannot succeed," Blinken said.
Both officials shared hopes that the counteroffensive would bring about peace and ultimately push Russia out of Ukraine in a way that will guarantee long-term stability in Ukraine.
Ukraine's success in a counteroffensive would "strengthen its position at any negotiating table that emerges, and it may have the effect as well of actually causing Putin to finally focus on negotiating an end to the war that he started," Blinken said.