Russia’s attack on Ukraine is going ‘according to plan’ and the violence is set to ‘get worse’, Vladimir Putin has warned.
The Russian President made the harrowing comments to Emmanuel Macron, his French counterpart, during a phone conversation on March 3.
After hanging up the call at the end of the exchange, which lasted around an hour and a half, Mr Macron stated “the worst is yet to come”.
According to The Mirror, an Elysee Palace spokesman said: ‘President Putin expressed his very great determination to continue the offensive, the aim of which is to take control of the whole country.
“President Putin said the Russian Army operation was developing according to the plan’ and that it would ‘get worse if the Ukrainians do not accept surrender terms’.”
The ominous sentiment is a particularly unwelcome one as it comes as the Russian and Ukrainian sit down together for a second time to try and reach a ceasefire agreement.
There appears to be a significant distance between the two side’s demands.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has said that while his country was ready for talks to resume, Russia’s demands hadn’t changed and that he wouldn’t accept any ultimatums.
Russian officials said Moscow’s demands include Ukraine’s recognition of Russia’s hold on Crimea, independence for the separatist-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as “de-militarisation” and “de-nazification”.
Yesterday Mr Macron denounced ‘the lies’ spread by the Russian government to justify a war in Ukraine, while saying he would continue to lobby Mr Putin for a ceasefire.
While also speaking to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Mr Macron blamed the hostilities on Mr Putin.
“It is alone, betraying his international commitments one by one, that President Putin chose this war,” Mr Macron said in a nationwide TV address.
“This war is not a conflict between the West and Russia, as some would like us to believe.
“There is no NATO base in Ukraine. These are lies. Russia is not aggressed; it is the aggressor.”
In turn, Mr Putin said his forces were conducting a ‘special military operation’ aimed at disarming Ukraine and capturing the ‘neo-Nazis’ running the country.
The news comes as Russia’s bombardment of Ukraine intensifies, with residential districts reduced to rubble even as defiant Ukrainian President Zelensky insists the capital will not fail.
Kremlin forces have resorted to heavy bombing of Kyiv and Kharkiv causing thousands of civilian casualties, after failed attempts to take both cities with ground forces.
Today 22 people were killed when a Russian airstrike hit an apartment block in Chernihiv.
Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia would pay for the damage caused: “We will restore every house, every street, every city and we say to Russia: learn the word of reparations and contributions. You will reimburse us for everything you did against our state , against every Ukrainian in full.”
Kherson, in the south of Ukraine, became the first major city to be captured by the Russians since the invasion began.
Residents have reported that there are Russians all over the city and that a curfew is now in place.
They have been told not to turn their lights on in the evening amid a shortage of food and medicine.
“The bigger shops are closed or already robbed,” a man who asked to be referred to as Jimmy said.
“What’s open is smaller shops, smaller groceries.”
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