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Russian troops never intended to capture Kiev – Putin

Moscow’s forces approached the Ukrainian capital only to persuade Vladimir Zelensky’s government to engage in talks, the president has said

Russian forces did not plan to storm Kiev when they advanced towards the Ukrainian capital in the first weeks of the conflict between the two countries, President Vladimir Putin has said.

During a meeting with his Russia’s top diplomats on Friday, Putin noted continued “speculation” in Ukraine and the West about the intentions of Russian units when they reached the outskirts of Kiev in late February 2022.

“But there was no political decision to storm the city of 3 million, no matter what anyone says due to their lack of thought,” Putin insisted.

According to the president, the Russian advance towards Kiev was “nothing more than an operation to persuade the Ukrainian regime to [make] peace.” 

“The troops were there to motivate the Ukrainian side to engage in negotiations, to try to find an acceptable solution and this way end the war unleashed by Kiev against Donbass back in 2014,” he said.

The conflict between the Ukrainian government and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which erupted after the Western-backed coup in Kiev in February 2014, “posed a threat to the security of our country, to the security of Russia,” Putin stressed.

The move by Russia did result in talks that led to agreements that “in principle, suited both Moscow and Kiev,” he said, referring to the negotiations that took place between the two sides in the Turkish city of Istanbul in late March 2022.

“On March 29, 2022, we withdrew our troops from Kiev because we were assured that it was essential to create conditions for the conclusion of the political negotiating process,” the president recalled. “Our Western colleagues” insisted back then that the Ukrainian authorities “cannot sign such agreements… with a gun to their head,” he added.

However, Kiev and its Western backers have been claiming that the Russian withdrawal from the area of the Ukrainian capital was not a goodwill gesture by Moscow, but the result of military successes achieved by Kiev’s troops. Already in April 2022, US President Joe Biden said “the ‘Battle of Kiev’ was a historic victory… won by the Ukrainian people with unprecedented assistance by the US and our allies.”

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June 14, 2024 at 04:54PM
RT

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