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Russia Will ‘Never’ Withdraw Troops As Precondition To Negotiate: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin while speaking at a press conference in Hanoi to close out his two-day visit to Vietnam on Thursday said that he will “never” withdraw his troops from Ukraine as a pre-condition for negotiations with the Zelensky government.

“If negotiations are linked to the withdrawal of our troops, about which the Kiev regime dreams, then this will never happen,” Putin told reporters according to state media translation.

We noted earlier that as part of these comments he suggested the West is preparing to throw President Zelensky under the bus and blame him for Ukraine’s wartime failures. Zelensky has refused to negotiate so long as Putin is in power, but the Russian leader said he thinks Zelensky will be removed from power at some point next year.

Putin had back in May declared Zelensky “illegitimate” after Ukraine failed to hold previously scheduled elections. Zelensky’s term was set to end May 20, but the government declared no elections until the war is over, citing martial law.

Interestingly, Putin in the Vietnam press conference described that Zelensky’s political survival is dependent on keeping the war going. This is a bit of a new argument and angle coming from the Russian leader…

“Because the Kiev regime does not want to relinquish power, does not want to hold normal elections according to the Ukrainian constitution, they will forever drag out the ceasefire talks,” Putin claimed. “This means that Kiev has an interest in our troops remaining there, because they don’t want to hold elections.”

The last several months have featured headline after headline highlighting the dire status of Ukraine forces on the front lines, particularly in Kharkiv. But the ‘answer’ of Kiev and its Western backers has been to launch more and more cross-border and drone attacks, targeting especially Russian oil facilities.

No less than six Russian oil refineries and depots have been hit in just the last 48 hours. Russia has responded with airstrikes targeting Ukraine’s electricity grid, after the nation has already been beset with rolling blackouts.

Putin in Hanoi was also asked about the West’s rejection of his offer for peace talks based on the conditions that Ukraine would pull all forces from the four annexed territories and that it would give up NATO membership aspirations…

“I expected just such a reaction, at first,” he responded. “What happens later, time will tell. It all depends on how the situation develops on the ground.”

The situation is likely to drag on like this until (if or when, that is) there’s a change in the US presidency after November. Trump has vowed to quickly press both sides to negotiate an end to the war. At times on the campaign trail he has even claimed he’ll be able to do it within 24 hours.

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ZeroHedge

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