NewsWorldRussian President Putin: If West wants to beat us on battlefield, let...

Russian President Putin: If West wants to beat us on battlefield, let them try

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (July 7) that Russia had barely got started in Ukraine and dared the West to try to defeat it on the battlefield.

In an ultra-hawkish speech to parliamentary leaders more than four months into Russia’s conflict with its neighbour, Putin said the prospects for any negotiation would grow dimmer the longer the conflict dragged on.

“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. What can you say, let them try,” he said.

Russia accuses the West of waging a proxy war against it by hammering its economy with sanctions and stepping up the supply of advanced weapons to Ukraine.

But while boasting that Russia was just getting into its stride, Putin also referred to the possibility of negotiations.

It was the first reference to diplomacy in many weeks after repeated statements from Moscow that negotiations with Kyiv had totally broken down.

Since initiating what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, Russian forces have captured large swathes of the country, including completing the seizure of the eastern region of Luhansk last Sunday (July 3).

But Russia’s progress has been far slower than many analysts predicted, and Russian forces were beaten back in initial attempts to take the capital, Kyiv, and second city, Kharkiv.

Russia says its “special operation” is aimed at degrading Ukraine’s military capabilities and root out what it calls dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.

(Reuters)

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