Putin: Russia has not started Ukraine campaign ‘in earnest’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of decades of aggression towards Moscow, warning that any attempt to beat Russia on the battlefield would bring tragedy for Ukraine.

In televised remarks to parliamentary leaders on Thursday, Putin said that “the West wants to fight us until the last Ukrainian. It’s a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it looks like it’s heading in that direction.”

“Everybody should know that largely speaking, we haven’t even yet started anything in earnest,” Putin added.

Since the start of the war in February, Russian forces have taken over large swathes of Ukraine, including the complete seizure of the eastern region of Luhansk.

The regional governor of the northeastern city of Kharkiv said Thursday three people had been killed and another five wounded after the city came under attack.

In his remarks, Putin also said that although sanctions on Moscow had caused difficulties, they had not been “on the scale intended,” Putin added.

The sanctions have failed to achieve the goal of “sowing division and strife in our society and demoralizing our people,” he said.

“The course of history is unstoppable, and attempts by the collective West to enforce its version of the global order are doomed to fail,” he added.

Putin also noted that Moscow did not reject peace talks, but warned the further the conflict dragged on, the harder it would be to reach agreement.

He noted that “those who refuse to do so should know that the longer it lasts the more difficult it will be for them to make a deal with us.”

This comes as Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky Thursday called on US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal to push the Biden administration to supply Ukraine with air defense systems.

Since the onset of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, the United States and its European allies have been providing Kiev with advanced weapons, including missile systems, to fight back the Russian military.

Russia has said the flood of weapons will not force Moscow to end the offensive and will only prolong the war. Early in June, Putin said his country would strike new targets if the West supplied longer-range missiles to Ukraine.

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