Vladimir Putin sends fresh warning as he dares West to try and 'defeat' Russia: ‘We haven't started anything yet’

Vladimir Putin made the comments in a speech to parliamentary leaders as the invasion of Ukraine continues

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Vladimir Putin has sent a fresh warning to the West to try and "defeat" Russia, saying "we haven't started anything yet."

In a speech to parliamentary leaders more than four months into the war, Mr Putin added that the prospects for any negotiation would grow dimmer the longer the conflict dragged on.

Mr Putin said: "Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. What can you say, let them try.

"We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

"This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it seems that everything is heading towards this."

But while boasting that Russia was just getting into its stride, Mr Putin also referred to the possibility of negotiations.

"Everyone should know that, by and large, we haven't started anything yet in earnest," he added.

"At the same time, we don't reject peace talks. But those who reject them should know that the further it goes, the harder it will be for them to negotiate with us."

Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues
Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues

It was the first reference to diplomacy in many weeks after repeated statements from Moscow that negotiations with Kyiv had totally broken down.

Since invading Ukraine in February, Russian forces have captured large parts of the country, including completing the seizure of the eastern region of Luhansk last Sunday.

But their progress has been far slower than many predicted, and they were beaten back in initial attempts to take the capital, Kyiv, and second city, Kharkiv.

Prospects for compromise appear remote as Ukraine, emboldened by Western support and the heavy losses it has inflicted on its opponent in terms of both personnel and equipment, has spoken of driving Russia out of all the territory it has seized.

Ukraine's chief negotiator, Mykhailo Podolyak, dismissed Putin's notion of a plan directed against Russia by the West.

"There is no 'collective West' plan. Only a specific z-army which entered sovereign Ukraine, shelling cities and killing civilians," Mr Podolyak tweeted.

"Everything else is a primitive propaganda. That’s why Mr Putin's mantra of the 'war to the last Ukrainian' is yet another proof of deliberate Russian genocide."

Mr Podolyak said on Twitter this week that Ukraine's conditions to resume talks would include: "Ceasefire. Z-troops withdrawal. Returning of kidnapped citizens. Extradition of war criminals. Reparations mechanism. Ukraine's sovereign rights recognition."