Putin: ‘Russia Can Make A Contribution To The Peace Process’
Vladimir Putin has said peace in Ukraine will only be reached “once Russia reaches its goals” in his first annual news conference since the invasion began.
In his first annual address since Russian troops arrived in Ukraine, the Kremlin leader took questions from journalists and the public about a range of international and domestic issues – with the ongoing conflict taking up many of the event’s talking points.
Putin reaffirmed Moscow’s objectives in Ukraine—“de-Nazification, de-militarization, and a neutral status,” Putin’s original mantra when the invasion began almost two years ago.
“De-Nazification” stems from Russia’s claims that the Ukrainian government is heavily influenced by radical nationalist and neo-Nazi groups — a notion disputed by Kyiv and the West.
Putin insisted on his longstanding demands that Ukraine remaining neutral and to not join NATO.
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He said peace in Ukraine would only come when Moscow’s goals are achieved, and said foreign aid to Ukraine would eventually dry up.
Speaking about what Moscow describes as a “special military operation”, Putin also rejected the need for a second wave of mobilising reservists for Ukraine, a measure previously met with widespread disapproval.
He said that approximately 617,000 Russian soldiers are currently stationed there, with around 244,000 troops having been called up to support.
Putin dismissed the need for mobilisation, citing a daily recruitment rate of 1,500 men into the Russian army.
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“The stream of our men who are ready to defend the interests of the homeland with weapons in their hands is not diminishing,” he said.
“Altogether there will be just under half a million men by the end of this year. Why do we need a mobilisation?”
The Russian president, who has maintained power for nearly 24 years and recently announced his reelection bid, received applause upon entering the central Moscow hall.
Last year, Putin did not host his annual press conference after Russian forces failed to capture Kyiv and the Ukrainian army reclaimed territories in the east and south.
This year, the Russian public had the opportunity to pose questions, alongside journalists, with Russians submitting queries for Putin over the past two weeks.
It marks the first instance since the conflict in Ukraine began that the Russian leader, known for limiting interactions with foreign media, faced questions from western media outlets.
Putin’s previous news conference occurred in 2021 amid US warnings about potential Russian troop deployment to Ukraine.
He postponed his annual state-of-the-nation address until February of this year.
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