While Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to continue the war despite criticism from the West, the Kremlin said on Thursday that it is up to Ukraine’s president to end the country’s military conflict.
Kyiv has consistently rejected these terms.
According to Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, is aware of when it might end.
He could terminate it tomorrow if he wanted to.
Relations between Russia and much of the rest of the world have gotten worse as a result of the conflict in Ukraine, although there is still some limited collaboration going on, including prisoner swaps.
In a remarkable exchange on Thursday, the United States freed a Russian arms dealer while Russia released American basketball player Brittney Griner.
The Kremlin has long insisted that for the war, which is now in its tenth month, to end, Ukraine must agree to Russian demands.
It has demanded that Kyiv recognize Moscow’s additional territorial gains in Ukraine as well as the unlawful annexation of Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula, by Moscow in 2014.
These demands have been regularly rejected by Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian leaders, who maintain that the war will end when the occupied lands are retaken, or Russian soldiers withdraw from them.
Putin said on Wednesday that the battle in Ukraine “may be a lengthy process” and that Moscow’s land gains were “a huge result for Russia,” noting that the Sea of Azov “has become part of Russia’s territory for the first time since the beginning of the war.”
Peskov stated during a conference call with reporters that Moscow wasn’t seeking to seize new territory but instead would work to retake control of Ukrainian territory it withdrew from just weeks after incorporating it into Russia through hastily called referendums, which Ukraine and the West reject as being illegal shams.
The city of Kherson and some of the Kherson region, one of the four territories that Ukraine has illegally annexed, were abandoned by Russian forces last month after earlier withdrawals from the Kyiv and Kharkiv regions.
“Several new regions of the Russian Federation have occupied lands that need to be released,” Peskov added.
Putin promised to carry out the stated objectives in Ukraine no matter how the West responds on Thursday.