Vladimir Putin has admitted Russia is involved in a war with Ukraine for the first time public, vowing to bring the fighting to an end “the sooner the better”. The Russian President was talking hours after his Ukraine counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, paid a surprise trip to Washington to meet Joe Biden and address the US Congress.
Putin said: “Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war.
“We will strive for an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course.”
His choice of words is noteworthy, given Russia has referred to the conflict as a “special operation” ever since Putin ordered his invasion on February 24 – 10 months ago tomorrow.
Despite Putin’s remarks, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said officials in Russia are trying to prepare forces for a drawn-out conflict.
The MoD highlighted Putin’s meeting on Wednesday, during which he was presented with plans to expand the Russian military by roughly 30 per cent to 1.5 million personnel.
Also yesterday, state media confirmed that Admiral Kuznetsov, the country’s only aircraft carrier, had been badly damaged by fire while at the Zvyozdochka shipyard in Murmansk on the coast of the Barents Sea.
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