Putin says there is no need for massive new attacks on Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that there is no need for massive new attacks on Ukraine and that Russia is not out to destroy the country.

Putin told a news conference at the end of a summit in Kazakhstan that his call from Russian reservists would be over in two weeks and that there were no plans for further mobilization.

He also reiterated the Kremlin’s stance that Russia was willing to hold talks, though he said international mediation would be necessary if Ukraine was willing to participate.

All things considered, Putin’s comments seemed to suggest a slight softening of his tone as the war nears the end of its eighth month, after weeks of Ukrainian advances and significant Russian defeats. Wall Street stocks opened higher as traders interpreted them as easing geopolitical tensions.

But Putin – who has said he is ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity” – also warned of a “global catastrophe” in the event of a direct clash of NATO forces with Russia.

He spoke after a week in which Russia carried out its heaviest rocket attacks on Kiev and other Ukrainian cities since the start of the February 24 invasion — an action Putin said was retaliation for an attack that damaged a Russian bridge to unilaterally annex Crimea. .

“We are not setting ourselves the task of destroying Ukraine. No, of course not,” Putin said.

He said there was now “no need for mass strikes” as most of the designated targets had been hit.

Russia’s faltering invasion has faced Putin in the deepest crisis of his 22 years as Russia’s main leader, as even loyal Kremlin allies have attacked the shortcomings of his generals and the chaotic nature of the mobilization.

But he answered “no” when asked if he was sorry, saying it would have been worse to trade in Ukraine.

“I want it to be clear: what’s happening today is unpleasant to say the least, but we would have gotten the same a little later, just in worse conditions for us, that’s all. So we act correctly and in a timely manner.”

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