Vladimir Putin ‘needs to return to reality’ as Russia shells dozens of towns on day he said he was ‘ready’ for Ukraine talks | World News


Ukraine has said Vladimir Putin “needs to come back to reality” in response to the Russian president’s claim that he is ready to negotiate.

On a day which saw Russia launch rocket attacks on dozens of frontline towns, Mr Putin had told state broadcaster Rossiya 1 that the Kremlin was “ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions”.

“But that is up to them – we are not the ones refusing to negotiate, they are,” he claimed.

Putin says Russia ‘ready’ to negotiate – war latest

Ukrainian officials have dismissed Mr Putin’s comments, as the Russian president’s forces spent Christmas Day bombarding more than 25 towns along the Kupiansk-Lyman frontline, and nearly 20 in Zaporizhzhia.

At least 10 rocket attacks also struck the Kupiansk district in the Kharkiv region.

Moscow claimed to have killed about 60 Ukrainian servicemen the previous day.

‘Russia tries to avoid responsibility’

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukraine‘s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, wrote on Twitter: “Putin needs to come back to reality.

“Russia single-handedly attacked Ukraine and is killing citizens. There are no other ‘countries, motives, geopolitics’.

“Russia doesn’t want negotiations, but tries to avoid responsibility.”

It came as Russian officials sought to downplay an incident at the Engels air base in the Saratov region.

Three servicemen were killed after UAV debris fell at the site, said the Russian defence ministry, which specified the aircraft was not damaged after a Ukrainian drone attack.

Earlier, local governor Roman Busargin had described reports of an incident as “false information”.

“There is absolutely no threat to the residents,” he wrote on Telegram.

“All the stories about the evacuation of the city are blatant lies created far beyond the country’s borders. There has been no damage to civilian infrastructure.”

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Ukrainian troops endured intense shelling on Christmas Day at the frontline in Bakhmut

‘Russia has lost everything it could this year’

It is 10 months since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

And, with no serious peace talks for months, there is little end in sight.

Millions of people in Ukraine are without electricity, due to Russian attacks on the country’s infrastructure.

Mr Zelenskyy has warned his people that Moscow will try to make the last days of 2022 dark and difficult.

He said: “Russia has lost everything it could this year.

“I know darkness will not prevent us from leading the occupiers to new defeats.

“But we have to be ready for any scenario.”

Read more:
How Ukrainians are doing Christmas differently this year
The Chechen fighters taking on Putin’s ’empire of evil’ in Ukraine

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Zelenskyy’s Christmas message

‘Defending our national interests’

Ukraine says it will not negotiate until every Russian soldier is gone from its territory, while Russia says it will keep fighting until it achieves its aims.

Mr Putin said on Sunday that he believes he is “defending our national interests…protect(ing) our citizens”.

Mr Putin also blames Kyiv and its Western backers for a lack of progress on peace talks, but has made clear that any negotiations must be on his terms.

Ukraine says this would be unacceptable, as it would mean bowing to Russian demands and accepting Mr Putin’s annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

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Pope calls for end to ‘senseless’ Ukraine war

‘Posturing’

The US State Department has not commented on Mr Putin’s latest talks offer, but after a similar speech from Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in October, spokesman Ned Price dismissed Russia’s approach as “posturing”.

“We do not see this as a constructive, legitimate offer to engage in the dialogue and diplomacy that is absolutely necessary to see an end to this brutal war of aggression,” he added.



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