Putin to Ukraine, Russia has only just begun its ‘campaign’

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With Russia’s military action in Ukraine entering its fifth month, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Kyiv on Thursday to accept Moscow’s terms or face the consequences, adding ominously that Russia has only just begun.

Putin to Ukraine, Russia has only just begun its 'campaign'

Putin accused Western allies of fueling hostilities during a meeting with leaders of the Kremlin-controlled parliament, claiming that “the West wants to fight us until the last Ukrainian.”

“It’s a tragedy for the Ukrainian people,” he added.

“Everyone should know that, broadly speaking, we haven’t even begun anything in earnest,” Putin warned.

He stated that Russia is still willing to hold talks to end the fighting, adding that “those who refuse to do so should know that the longer it goes on, the more difficult it will be for them to make a deal with us.”

“We hear they want to defeat us on the battlefield,” Putin said. “Give them a chance.”

Earlier in the conflict, the Kremlin demanded that Kiev recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, as well as the independence of Moscow-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow also stated that it expected Ukraine to submit to the current situation on the ground, referring to other land gains made since Russian troops entered Ukraine in February 24.

After failing to capture Kyiv and other major cities in Ukraine’s northeast early in the campaign, Russia’s military shifted its focus to Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, where Moscow-backed separatists have fought Ukrainian troops since 2014.

The Russian military claimed control of the Luhansk province, one of two that comprise Donbas, earlier this week, and is preparing to launch an offensive into the second, Donetsk.

Russia took control of the southern Kherson region and a portion of neighboring Zaporizhzhia early in the conflict. Moscow is expected to try to cut Ukraine off from its Black Sea coast all the way to the Romanian border in the future.

If successful, it would be a devastating blow to the Ukrainian economy while also opening up a corridor to Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria, where Russia maintains a military base.

Putin reiterated his long-held claim that the West is using the Ukraine conflict to isolate and weaken Russia.

“They simply do not require a country like Russia,” Putin stated. “That is why they have used terrorism, separatism, and destructive internal forces in our country.”

He claimed that Western sanctions against Russia were ineffective in “sowing division and strife in our society and demoralizing our people.”

“The course of history is unstoppable, and collective Western attempts to impose its version of global order are doomed to fail,” Putin said.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, responded on Twitter, saying, “There is no plan by the ‘collective West,” and that only a Russian army had entered Ukraine.

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