Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview aired Sunday that Moscow is ready to negotiate about the war in Ukraine but Kyiv and the West have refused to talk.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February as part of what Putin called a “special military operation” with the goal of the “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.” However, Kyiv said it will not stop fighting until every Russian soldier has left its territory.
“We are ready to negotiate with everyone involved about acceptable solutions, but that is up to them — we are not the ones refusing to negotiate, they are,” Putin told state-owned outlet Rossiya-1, Reuters reported.
“I believe that we are acting in the right direction, we are defending our national interests, the interests of our citizens, our people,” Putin said. “And we have no other choice but to protect our citizens.”
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry claimed Sunday to have killed or wounded more than 100,000 Russian soldiers.
In The U.N. Office for Human Rights estimates more than 17,000 civilian casualties from the Ukraine war but said it “believes that the actual figures are considerably higher.”
An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed earlier this month that up to 13,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since February, the BBC reported. Russia has not released figures for casualties.