Putin no longer wants a peace agreement, but only a larger territory, the FT writes

Putin has lost interest in a diplomatic solution to the conflict with Ukraine and instead is trying to gain as much territory as possible, the FT quotes three sources close to the head of the Kremlin. Putin told diplomats who were trying to end the conflict that he saw no agreement.

“Putin sincerely believes in the nonsense he hears on Russian television and longs for a big victory,” said one of the sources quoted by FT. Although Moscow and Kyiv initially agreed to talks at the end of March, talks stalled after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of war crimes against civilians in Bukh and Mariupol. Subsequently, Putin called the ceasefire effort a “dead end” and became furious after Ukraine sank the cruiser Moscow.

“There was hope for an agreement. Putin hesitated. He needs to find a way to emerge victorious, “said one source. After Moscow sank, he “opposed the signing of anything.” He doesn’t look like a winner after Moscow, it was humiliating for him, “he continued.

The Ukrainian and Western communities have always questioned his sincere commitment to peace talks, but rather seemed to want more time for the invasion. Putin seems to be taking on the distorted view of his generals and Russian television, the FT writes. Sources say the head of the Kremlin is convinced that Russian forces in Ukraine are not targeting civilians, despite all the testimony.

Putin told European Council chief Charles Michel on Friday that talks had ceased because Ukraine had “built a wall” and said “this is not the right time” to meet Zelenysky. According to negotiators, this means that Russia believes it can capture more of the territory, rather than wanting more time to find common ground.

Russia’s president avoids Zelenysky “with all his might,” the source said. “He wants everything to be decided before they meet,” he added. Zelensky himself said on Saturday that he wanted the talks to continue, but that they were not possible if the people in Mariupol continued to die and the Russian occupiers in the Kherson region continued to try to call a referendum.

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