John Kirby, in an interview with the Russian opposition TV station Rain, also mentioned the Russian recruitment of new recruits or the purchase of Iranian drones, against the hope of an early end to the war, the Ukrinform agency quoted from the interview.
“This is not a war with the US, it is not a war with NATO. Putin has decided to start a war with Ukraine and Ukrainians. And unfortunately, nothing we’re seeing today gives us hope that he’s ready to end this war, the killing of peaceful Ukrainians,” Kirby said.
The conflict continues only because “Putin wants to continue it, he wants to continue killing Ukrainians, sending troops deep into Ukrainian territory, continuing to try to seize territory in the Donbass, in the east and in the south,” Kirby said.
The war could end immediately if Putin decided so, withdrew his troops and was willing to start negotiations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Kirby believes. According to the spokesman, the decision to sit down at the negotiating table lies exclusively with these two statesmen.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded a medal for courage to a convicted five-time murderer who joined Wagner’s private army and died in combat near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine in early August.
According to Kirby, Russia will try to hold referendums in the occupied territories during September in order to achieve “some semblance of political legitimacy” for the military actions and “somehow politically compensate for (military) failures.” According to him, from an international point of view, the result of these referendums is not relevant, because they are not recognized by Ukraine, the USA, or the international community.
In response to a statement by Russian officials that the West is only prolonging the conflict by supplying arms to Ukraine, Kirby said: “The West is going to end the conflict. This conflict is only prolonged by Putin’s desire to continue it.”