A top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Moscow will not stop its military campaign in Ukraine even if Kiev formally renounces its aspirations to join NATO.
Former President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, also said in a French television interview that Russia is willing to hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy under certain conditions.
Even before the February invasion, Moscow made it clear that Ukraine’s membership of NATO was unacceptable to it.
“Abandoning his participation in the North Atlantic alliance is now vital, but it is already insufficient to make peace,” Medvedev told LCI television in quotes reported by Russian news agencies.
Russia, he said, would continue the campaign until its goals were achieved. Putin says he wants to “denazify” Ukraine. Kiev and the West say this is an unfounded pretext for a war of conquest.
Russia and Ukraine held several rounds of talks after the invasion began, but they made no progress and there are few prospects of a resumption.
“These (talks) will depend on how events unfold. We were ready to meet (Zelenskiy) earlier,” Medvedev said.
In his comments, he also said that US weapons already delivered to Ukraine — such as HIMARS multi-missile missile launchers — did not yet pose a substantial threat.
But that could change, he said, if the US sent weapons, it could hit targets at greater distances.
“It means that when this kind of rocket flies 70 km, that’s one thing,” he said. “But if it is 300-400 km, that is another, now that would be a direct threat to the territory of the Russian Federation.”
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