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Russia hasn’t really even started yet, Putin warns West

Russia is ready to engage in peace negotiations with Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has said on Thursday, warning that those who reject such prospects should realize that prolonging the ongoing conflict would only make such talks more difficult.

“We do not refuse negotiating peace, but those who refuse should know that the further they refuse, the more difficult it will be to negotiate,” Putin said, issuing a warning to those who might think Russia has already exhausted its capabilities amid the conflict.

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Putin also said that the West appears to actually be willing to “fight until the last Ukrainian,” which he said is a “tragedy” for the Ukrainian people.

READ MORE: Defense minister updates Putin on latest Ukrainian losses

The president blamed the ongoing conflict on the US-led NATO, stressing that Russia’s consistent efforts to create a fair international security system have been jeopardized.

“The initiatives to work together on missile defense have been rejected, warnings about the unacceptability of NATO expansion, especially at the expense of the former Soviet republics have been ignored,” Putin said.

If the West’s goal was to provoke a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it has evidently succeeded in that, Putin admitted. On the strategic level, however, the West already lost when Moscow launched its military operation in Ukraine, Putin stated.

The president added that the ongoing breakdown “cannot be stopped.”

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