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Borrell: Putin will 'continue war until final victory'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 24, 2023 12:59 PM 2 min read
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell speaks during a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Nov. 22, 2023. (Frederick Florin/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian leader Vladimir Putin "cannot be satisfied with a limited territorial victory" and "has decided to continue the war until the final victory," the EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, said in an interview with the Guardian on Dec. 24.

"He will not give up the war, especially not before the American election, which may present him with a much more favorable scenario," Borrell said.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a press conference on Dec. 19 that the result of the 2024 U.S. presidential election could "very strongly" influence the course of Russia's war against Ukraine.

Donald Trump, the former U.S. president and the Republican Party's leading candidate, has repeatedly criticized the level of aid U.S. President Joe Biden's administration provides to Kyiv.

"We must prepare for a conflict of high intensity for a long time," Borrell told the Guardian.

"Putin cannot be satisfied with a piece of Ukraine and to let the rest of Ukraine belong to the European Union."

According to Borrell, Russia continues to pose a threat to its neighbors because it has always been an empire and has "never been able to become a nation."

Putin "was wrong about the capacity of his army," and misjudged how Ukraine would resist, and about the strength of the EU and the transatlantic alliance, Borrell believes.

"But he is still there," Borrell noted. "He is still willing to fight, to let his people die, so that his army and his people suffer, because he has no reverse."

The U.K. Defense Ministry estimated that as of December 2023, 320,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured in the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Dec. 1 to increase the size of Russia's army by 170,000 people, bringing it to a new total of 1,320,000 military personnel.

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