Putin says Ukraine war will go on until there is a deal

Russia will press on with its war in Ukraine unless officials Kyiv do a deal that takes Russian security concerns into account, President Vladimir Putin says, adding that the goals of the "special military operation" would be met regardless.

Fielding questions from the public and media at an event dominated by the conflict, Putin - who has announced he will seek another six-year presidential term in March - said his initial goals in Ukraine had not changed and that Russian forces had taken the initiative on the battlefield.

"Practically along the entire line of contact, our armed forces are, shall we say, modestly improving their position. Virtually all are in an active stage of action," Putin said.

Russia's core goals remained "de-Nazification", "de-militarisation" and securing Ukraine's neutrality, the 71-year-old leader said.

"There will be peace when we achieve our goals," he said.

"As for de-militarisation, if they (the Ukrainians) don't want to come to an agreement - well, then we are forced to take other measures, including military ones.

"Either we get an agreement, agree on certain parameters (on the size and strength of Ukraine's military)... or we solve this by force. This is what we will strive for," Putin added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said negotiations with Russia are impossible until all Russian soldiers have been expelled from Ukrainian territory, and is seeking further foreign assistance to defend his country.

Putin has cast himself as the right man to continue leading Russia through a conflict that he sees as existential for Russia's survival but which is described by Ukraine and its allies as an unprovoked colonial-style land grab.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says there can be no talks with Russia until its troops leave Ukraine.

He said a group of elite Ukrainian forces who had crossed the River Dnipro in Ukraine was being ground down.

"The (Ukrainian) approach seems to be that, while they are travelling and begging (for foreign aid), it is necessary to show that the Ukrainian armed forces have some chance of achieving, at all costs and without regard for casualties, some kind of success," Putin said.

"They are simply being driven out of there (from the east bank of the Dnipro), that's all."

Reuters could not verify the battlefield situation.

At one point in Thursday's marathon press conference, Putin took questions from Russian forces fighting near the front line, with gunfire echoing in the background.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed or wounded in Ukraine, cities, towns and villages have been destroyed and millions have been forced from their homes.

Putin reiterated his position that NATO's eastward expansion towards Russia's borders - including Ukraine's desire to join the military alliance - was the fundamental cause of the conflict.

The United States and its European allies blame Russia for the conflict.

"The unbridled desire to creep towards our borders, taking Ukraine into NATO, all this led to this tragedy... They forced us into these actions," he said.

"When internal changes happen (in the United States), when they start respecting other people... when they start looking for compromise instead of trying to resolve their issues with sanctions and military intervention, then the fundamental conditions will be in place to restore fully fledged relations."

Zelenskiy hailed a "victory" for Ukraine and the European continent on Thursday after European Union leaders agreed to open membership talks for Ukraine and Moldova.

The decision announced by European Council President Charles Michel on the first day of a summit in Brussels is a much-needed morale boost for Ukraine which fears vital foreign support has been waning as its war with Russia rages on with no end in sight.

"I thank everyone who worked for this to happen and everyone who helped. I congratulate every Ukrainian on this day... History is made by those who don't get tired of fighting for freedom," Zelenskiy wrote in a post on social media platform X.

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store