Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova have recently spoken out on the deepening conflict with Ukraine, highlighting the complexities and escalating tensions in the region.
Putin's Response to Ukrainian Authorities
In a stark condemnation of the Ukrainian government's policies, President Vladimir Putin criticized their treatment of Russians within Ukraine.
Speaking after a ceremony awarding Gold Star medals to Heroes of the Russian Federation, Putin's comments were relayed by journalist Pavel Zarubin of Russia’s Rossiya-1 TV Channel. "We would have never resorted to anything like this if they [the Ukrainian authorities] had not started destroying Russia on our historical territories, forcing people out of there, declaring Russians a non-indigenous nation," Putin said.
This statement underscores the increasing bitterness in Russia's view of the Ukrainian government's actions.
Zakharova on Peace Settlement Attempts
Adding to the discourse, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova spoke in an interview with AFP about the efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis.
She critiqued the attempts to use existing models for peace settlements, such as the Korean model, as being ineffective in this context. "The attempts to impose one or another settlement model, including the Korean one, however successful it may seem, are just as pointless," Zakharova stated.
She emphasized the necessity for distinct solutions and the presence of political will, which she believes is absent from both Kiev and Western nations. "What is needed here are entirely different solutions and, most importantly, once again, political will from those who provoked this conflict and continues to do everything for its constant and dangerous escalation." Zakharova further elaborated on the challenges in initiating peace negotiations, referencing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky's legal self-ban on discussions with Russian authorities since September 30, 2022.
"Kiev rejects peace mediation initiatives, presented by various countries in the recent months," she noted, adding that the peace formula proposed by Zelensky comprises ultimatums for Russia rather than genuine peace efforts.
"Meanwhile, the so-called peace formula, proposed by the Ukrainian president in November of 2022, and presented as the only possible basis for settlement, in reality has nothing to do with peace, and instead comprises a set of ultimatums for Russia, which justify further hostilities."