New reports of civilians killed in Mariupol, Boutcha and Sievierodonetsk published by the Ukrainian authorities.

Vladimir Putin: Invasion of Ukraine was ‘inevitable’, going ‘calmly, according to plan’

For the first time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, on February 24, the Russian president appeared publicly outside Moscow. He visited the Vostochny space launch facility in Russia’s Far East with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

He spoke for the first time, during an awards ceremony in the morning, then during a press conference. These are the main statements from her, as reported by the Associated Press, Reuters and Russian state agency TASS.

About the outbreak of war. The Russian president reiterated that he had no choice but to launch this “military operation”according to the official terminology of the Kremlin, to protect itself, and that the confrontation with the Ukrainian forces “anti-Russian” It was inevitable

The goals are absolutely clear and lofty. On the one hand, we are helping and saving people in Donbass, and on the other hand, we are simply taking measures to ensure the security of Russia itself. Clearly we had no choice. It was the right decision.

About the course of the war. assured that the invasion was taking place “harmoniously, calmly, according to the plan proposed from the beginning by the staff.” “Our task is to achieve the objectives set while minimizing losses”, he added. He implied that if the Russian forces did not go faster, it was to avoid too great a loss. The Kremlin recently admitted “significant losses” of soldiers, but without quantifying them. By the end of March, Moscow had acknowledged that 1,351 soldiers had been killed and 3,825 wounded, the first figures in more than three weeks. But Western sources estimate that losses on the Russian side could be twice as high, even reaching 12,000 to kyiv.

About negotiations with Ukraine. Putin accused the Ukrainians of withdrawing from the talks during the latest session of direct talks. March 29 in Istanbul. According to him, the “lack of consistency [ des Ukrainiens] about the basics » prevents a deal that could end the fight. The Ukrainians accuse the Russians of using the negotiations to buy time and of not respecting the humanitarian corridors. The discovery of atrocities in the liberated Ukrainian cities put the talks on hold forever. Putin added that despite the “current tragedy”Ukrainians have always been “brother town”, according to their expression.

Of the economic sanctions. For the Russian president, “It is certainly impossible to isolate someone in the world today, especially in a country as big as Russia”. “They will not be able to close all the doors and windows”, assured. Last week, the United States announced new measures against Russian banks, adding to a long list of sanctions and hydrocarbon embargoes. The European Union began discussing a sixth package this week.

Mr. Putin added: “We will work with those of our partners who want to cooperate. » He called on Western countries to “Come to your senses and make measured decisions so as not to lose face”. He concluded by promising that the sanctions would backfire on those who apply them, and in particular cited restrictions on imports of Russian fertilizers. which is already driving up the price of food.

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