Russia President, Vladimir Putin has said in his first end-of-year news conference since the offensive began that Russia’s goals in Ukraine remain unchanged and there will be no peace until they are achieved.
The event on Thursday comes days after Putin announced that he will run in the March 2024 Presidential Election, in which the 71-year-old leader is almost certain to win a fifth term. He has been in power for 24 years, including his prime ministerial stint, and a victory next year will see him remain President until 2030.
Fielding questions from the public and the media in Moscow, the Russian leader said peace will be possible after “denazification, demilitarization and a neutral status” of Ukraine,something he has repeated since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
Russia alleges that Ukraine’s government is heavily influenced by “radical nationalist” and neo-Nazi groups, which Kyiv and the West dispute. Putin has also consistently demanded that Ukraine remain neutral and not join the NATO military alliance.
“As for demilitarisation, they don’t want to negotiate, so we are then forced to take other measures, including military measures,” Putin said.
“Either we agree or we need to resolve [the issue] by force,” he added.