A top Putin friend warned on Friday that the crisis in Ukraine may endure decades and that talks with Ukraine were impossible as long as Ukraine’s Western-backed President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was in charge.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has sparked the worst European conflict since World War II and the most heated confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died and many more have been seriously injured in the conflict, whose roots date to 2014 after a pro-Russian president was toppled in Ukraine’s Maidan popular uprising, Russia annexed the Crimea peninsula and Russian-backed separatists seized swathes of eastern Ukraine.
“This conflict will last for a very long time. For decades, probably. This is a new reality,” Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
He said Russia could not trust any truce with the current rulers of Kyiv as the conflict would simply erupt again and so the very nature of the current government of Ukraine would have to be destroyed.
Negotiations, he said, with “the clown Zelenskiy” were impossible.
“Everything always ends in negotiations, and this is inevitable, but as long as these people are in power, the situation for Russia will not change in terms of negotiations.”
Medvedev, who cast himself as a liberal moderniser when he was president from 2008-2012, now presents himself as a fiercely anti-Western Kremlin hawk. Diplomats say his views give an indication of thinking at the top levels of the Kremlin elite.