Kyiv, Ukraine ( Associated Press) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country is ready to enter talks to end the war in Ukraine, despite Russian forces shelling Ukrainian territory — a sign that that peace is not imminent.
In a televised interview, excerpts of which were broadcast on Sunday, Putin said Russia was ready to “negotiate some acceptable results with all participants in this process.”
He insisted that “it is not us who are refusing to negotiate, it is they,” the same position the Kremlin has taken in recent months as the 10-month-old invasion of Ukraine winds down.
The Russian president also reiterated his argument that Russia “had no choice” and was “working in the right direction.”
“We are protecting our national interests, the interests of our citizens, the interests of our people,” he said.
The comments come amid Russia’s continued attacks on Ukraine. Local officials said an anti-aircraft alert was issued twice for all of Ukraine on Sunday and three missiles fell in the afternoon on Kramatorsk in the partially occupied Donetsk region.
Ukraine’s Donetsk governor, Pavlo Kirilenko, said the missiles hit an industrial area of the city and there were no casualties. He said the town of Avdiivka was also hit with six cannons on Sunday, injuring a woman there.
Meanwhile, in the city of Bakhmut, where there has been heavy fighting in recent weeks, Russian forces are trying to keep up the pace of their offensive, a US think tank reported.
The Institute for the Study of War reported that “the pace of Russian army advances in the Bakhmut area has probably slowed in recent days, although it is too early to say whether the Russian effort to take Bakhmut is complete.”