Former US diplomat Kurt Volker says Vladimir Putin’s deteriorating health is forcing him to accelerate the war in Ukraine for the sake of his “personal legacy.” Russia has made significant advances over the last few weeks as Russian troops have taken full control of the Luhansk province and are now advancing towards Donetsk – the other Ukrainian province Putin has long coveted. Due to internal pressure and poor health, Putin is driving the war before he dies, Mr Volker says.
Speaking to DW Conflict Zone, Mr Volker said: “I don’t agree that we won’t be seeing the end of Putin anytime soon.
“There are many indications that he is in poor health, that maybe one other reason why he is driving so hard to steal these territories from Ukraine now is he wants it to be part of his personal legacy.
“So, I think that pressures are building as a result of the war effort not going well for Russia., as a result of sanctions, as a result of international pressure in Russia and that something may snap.
“And we should not be afraid of that. We should keep putting pressure on Russia.”
Reacting to the European’s response to Putin-led Russians’ atrocities in Ukraine, Mr Volker said: “Again, you can’t deal with someone like Putin. He has ordered his forces into Ukraine in a direct war of aggression. He’s lied to all of us about his intention repeatedly.
“He has directed his forces to commit war crimes, including the use of rape as a weapon in the war, including the killing of civilians, including the targeting of maternity hospitals and civilian facilities.
“So, this is not something where anyone in Europe can work with this Putin, this regime. The regime is going to have to go.”
In a direct message to Western leaders, Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow had barely started its campaign in Ukraine.
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Putin said: “Everyone should know that, by and large, we haven’t started anything yet in earnest,” he told parliamentary leaders. “The further it goes, the harder it will be for them to negotiate with us.”
Defying the West, he added: “The course of history is unstoppable and attempts by the collective West to enforce its version of the global order are doomed to fail.”
In a first since the beginning of the war, the Russian President has offered to sit down for peace talks with Ukraine, warning that “the longer it lasts the more difficult it will be for them to make a deal with us.”
He upped the ante on Thursday, saying the war will drag on until the “last Ukrainian is left standing.”
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Mykhailo Podolyak, the presidential adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, listed Ukraine’s conditions for peace on Sunday, including a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian troops, the return of kidnapped citizens, and other measures.
In an exclusive interview with CNN, President Zelensky made it clear that ceding Ukrainian land to Russia during peace talks was out of the question.
“Ukrainians are not ready to give away their land, to accept that these territories belong to Russia. This is our land,” Zelensky said. “We always talk about that, and we are intending to prove it.”
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