Kremlin [Russia]: In his first ever interview with a Western journalist after Russia launched an armed offensive on Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that he was ready to negotiate with Ukraine and end the war, adding that the Ukrainian side made a mistake by rejecting his negotiations.
"We prepared a huge document in Istanbul that was initialled by the head of the Ukrainian delegation. He (Ukraine President) affixed his signature to some of the provisions, not to all of it. He put his signature and then he himself said we were ready to sign it and the war would have been over long ago. However, Prime Minister Johnson came, talked us out of it. And we missed that chance," Putin said.
In an interview with the American news anchor Tucker Carlson released on Friday, President Putin said Ukraine made a mistake, adding. "Why do we have to bother ourselves and correct somebody else's mistakes?"
"Well, you missed it. You made a mistake. Let them get back to that. That is all. Why do we have to bother ourselves and correct somebody else's mistakes? I know one can say it is our mistake. It was us who intensified the situation and decided to put an end to the war that started in 2014 in Donbass. As I have already said, by means of weapons," he added.
President Putin also referred to the expansion of NATO and declaration of Ukraine as a sovereign state saying that US and NATO bases began to appear in its neighbouring region and posing a for Russia.
"Let me get back to furthering history. I already told you this. We were just discussing. Let us go back to 1991, when we were promised that NATO would not expand to 2008, when the doors to NATO opened to the declaration of state sovereignty of Ukraine, declaring Ukraine a neutral state," he said.
"Let us go back to the fact that NATO and US military bases started to appear on the territory of Ukraine, creating threats to us. Let us go back to coup d'eta in Ukraine in 2014.
It is pointless, though, isn't it? We may go back and forth endlessly, but they stop negotiations. Is it a mistake? Yes. Correct it. We are ready," he added.
Ukrainian forces have, in recent weeks, been on the defensive after Russia launched fierce assaults along the front lines. Kyiv did receive a boost to its war effort last week when the European Union approved a USD 54 billion aid package that will help avert a near-term Ukrainian financial crisis.
However, US lawmakers this week were unable to forge an agreement that would provide another USD 60 billion in aid to Ukraine, assistance that Ukrainian officials and military analysts deem critical to Kyiv's war effort.
Zelensky's frustration with his top general burst into the public eye in early November, after General Zaluzhny published his essay calling the war a "stalemate."
In a strong rebuke, the Ukrainian president said that the comment was helpful to the Russians.