After his “election”… Putin talks about building a “buffer zone” along the border

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that his country will not back down from its invasion of Ukraine, as one of its next goals will be to create a buffer zone along the border to help protect against long-range Ukrainian strikes and cross-border raids.

The Kremlin forces have recently made progress on the battlefield, at a time when the Ukrainian forces are suffering from a severe shortage of artillery shells, and the units are exhausted on the front line, after more than two years of war.

The front line extends for more than a thousand kilometers from eastern and southern Ukraine.

But the progress has been slow and costly, as Ukraine has increased its use of its long-range firepower to strike oil refineries and warehouses deep inside Russia.

Groups claiming to be from the Russian opposition, based in Ukraine, also carried out cross-border incursions.

“In light of the current tragic events, we will be forced at some point, when we deem it necessary, to create a buffer zone on the territory under the control of (the Ukrainian government),” Putin said late on Sunday.

Putin spoke during a press conference following the announcement of the election results, which showed that he won a fifth term in 6 years by an overwhelming majority in elections devoid of any real opposition following his fierce security campaign against the opposition.

The announcement came on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which paved the way for Moscow to invade its neighbor in 2022.

Putin has been vague about his goals in Ukraine since a large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine faltered in February 2022.

But he said that one of Russia’s current goals is “to create a safe zone that will be difficult to penetrate using foreign-made offensive assets (weapons) in the enemy’s possession.”

Putin also again warned the West against deploying forces in Ukraine. He said that a potential conflict between Russia and NATO would put the world “one step away” from World War III.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently said that sending Western forces to Ukraine should not be ruled out, although he said that the current situation does not require this.

Commenting on the possibilities of holding peace talks with Kiev, Putin reiterated that Russia remains open to negotiations, but will not accept a truce that allows Ukraine to rearm.

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