Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday issued a warning to the West and Ukraine, saying the war might drag on until the “last Ukrainian is left standing.”
“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try,” Putin said during a meeting with the heads of the State Duma party factions that aired on state-run television channel Russia-24.
"We have continuously heard that the West is ready to fight with us until the last Ukrainian is left standing. This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people. However, it seems like everything is going towards this," he said.
Putin has also blamed the West for “encouraging and justifying genocide against people in Donbas.”
"We are not refusing peace negotiations. But those who do refuse should know that the further [the conflict continues], the more difficult it will be for them to negotiate with us," Putin said.
The eastern Donbas region has became the key centerpiece of Putin’s military ambition in Ukraine after his troops failed to take over the Ukrainian capital Kyiv earlier this year.