Putin offers rare details about war in Ukraine, says there will be no peace until goals are achieved #Putin #offers #rare #details #war #Ukraine #peace #goals #achieved

Russian President Vladimir Putin renewed his commitment that he will not end his war in Ukraine until his goals are achieved and, at a year-end news conference, offered rare details concerning those objectives.

The Russian president, who is seeking reelection after being in power for nearly 24 years, reiterated that Moscow’s goals in Ukraine are the “de-Nazification, de-militarization and a neutral status” of Ukraine.

“De-Nazification” refers to Russia’s allegations that the Ukrainian government is corruptly influenced by nationalists and neo-Nazi groups, which Kyiv and the West denies.

Putin has also demanded that Ukraine remain diplomatically neutral and not be allowed to join the NATO alliance. “There will be peace when we achieve our goals,” Putin said.

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Putin with clinched fists

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.  (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

During the news conference, Putin also addressed concerns from some Russian citizens about another wave of mobilization, a highly unpopular move he enacted in September 2022 to boost his forces in Ukraine.

Putin dismissed the need for a second wave of mobilization of reservists, saying there are some 617,000 Russian soldiers currently in Ukraine, including around 244,000 troops who were called up to fight alongside professional Russian military forces.

Putin walking with a folder in his hand

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives to attend his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.  (Aleksander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

“There is no need [for additional mobilization],” Putin said, because 1,500 men are being recruited into the Russian army every day across the country. He said 486,000 soldiers have signed a contract with the Russian military as of Wednesday evening.

Putin also said Russia and China were the current major powers on the world stage and that Russian-Chinese relations are one of the significant guarantors of world stability.

Putin’s appearance at the news conference was primarily aimed at a domestic audience and was a chance for him to personally resolve the problems of ordinary Russian citizens and reinforce his grip on power ahead of Russia’s presidential election on March 17.

Putin with his hands raised

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023.  (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

While this press conference is traditionally held each year, Putin did not hold it last year after his military invaded Ukraine. 

It is the first time Putin, who has heavily limited his interaction with foreign media, faced questions from Western journalists since before the fighting in Ukraine began.

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“For the majority of people, this is their only hope and possibility of solving the most important problems,” according to a state television news report on the Russia 1 channel.

State media said that as of Wednesday, about 2 million questions about Putin had been submitted ahead of the broadcast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

#Putin #offers #rare #details #war #Ukraine #peace #goals #achieved

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