NewsPutin reportedly prepares for a five-year war with Ukraine, warns Xi Jinping to stay pro-Russian

Putin reportedly prepares for a five-year war with Ukraine, warns Xi Jinping to stay pro‑Russian

Putin reportedly prepares for a five-year war with Ukraine, warns Xi Jinping to stay pro-Russian
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6:57 AM EST, December 28, 2023

Nikkei Asia cites sources who disclosed that during a meeting between the leaders of Russia and China in Moscow in March 2023, Vladimir Putin informed Xi Jinping that Russia intended to "fight for at least five years" in Ukraine.

The Japanese outlet reminds readers that this was Xi Jinping's first visit to Russia since the onset of Russian aggression towards Ukraine. There was significant discussion at the time regarding the imminent Ukrainian counteroffensive.

"It seems Putin used this method to express Russia's unfavorable situation at that moment and reassure Xi that Russia will ultimately triumph in the war," Nikkei Asia speculates. According to the Japanese outlet's journalist, "this comment also warned Xi not to alter his pro-Russian stance".

Only a few days ago "The New York Times" reported, quoting former high-ranking Russian officials close to the Kremlin, that "since September, Putin has been signaling through intermediaries his willingness for a ceasefire, which would suspend fighting along the current lines, marking a significant shift from his desire to dominate Ukraine."

The issue of potential negotiations was also raised in a recent interview published on Thursday with Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov by the Tass agency. Lavrov alleges that the Ukrainian side is not interested in negotiations.

"We are compelled to recognize a lack of willingness for peace on the part of the Zelensky regime. Its representatives think in terms of war and use very aggressive rhetoric. There is no question of halting military actions. Zelensky's ban on negotiations with Russian leaders, implemented on September 30, 2022, is still in effect," Lavrov stated.

The Japanese outlet suggests that given Putin's words to Xi Jinping in March, "the ceasefire intentions given by the Russian leader should not be taken at face value."

"It's likely that Putin only wants to foster the illusion of progress towards a ceasefire or even peace before the upcoming presidential elections in Russia in March, believing that such a climate will enhance his electoral prospects," reads the Nikkei Asia article.

The article also recollects Chinese diplomatic actions following Xi's meeting with Putin. A Chinese representative undertook a visit to Europe, purportedly to broker peace negotiations.

"If the war in Ukraine were to last five years, which it has for close to two, China would face unprecedented pressure from Western countries due to its extensive military cooperation with Russia," Nikkei Asia emphasizes.

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