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Putin refers to Ukraine-Russia conflict as ‘war’ for first time

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb. 21, 2022. (ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)
June 05, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently referenced his country’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine as a “war” for the first time as he stated Russia’s goal of ending the conflict. The comments from the Russian president come days after President Joe Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and made clear his intention of continued aid and support.  

“Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war,” Putin said, according to The New York Post. “We will strive for an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course.”

Putin’s critics in Russia were alarmed by his use of the word “war” due to a recent law barring Russian citizens from calling the “special military operation” in Ukraine a “war,” which could lead to fines and jail time.

An opposition councilor from St. Petersburg, Nikita Yuferev, called on prosecutors to launch an investigation into Putin for allegedly violating the law, which Putin signed. 

“It’s important for me to do this to draw attention to the contradiction and the injustice of these laws that he [Putin] adopts and signs but which he himself doesn’t observe,” Yuferev said. “I think the more we talk about this, the more people will doubt his honesty, his infallibility, and the less support he will have,” 

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White House National Security spokesman John Kirby commented that Putin has currently “shown absolutely zero indication that he’s willing to negotiate” a peaceful solution to end the war.  

“Quite the contrary,” Kirby said. “Everything (Putin) is doing on the ground and in the air bespeaks a man who wants to continue to visit violence upon the Ukrainian people” and “escalate the war.” 

Russia has consistently stated it is open to potential negotiations, but Ukraine suspects such negotiations would only be an attempt to stall for a time after a series of Russian retreats and defeats.

“All armed conflicts end one way or another with some kind of negotiations on the diplomatic track,” Putin said. “Sooner or later, any parties in a state of conflict sit down and make an agreement. The sooner this realization comes to those who oppose us, the better. We have never given up on this.”