Vladimir Putin takes a child's request pinned in written form to a fir tree during an event held as part of the "Fir Tree of Wishes" charity campaign in Moscow on Thursday. AFP
Putin made the comments, likely to be met with scepticism by Ukraine and its allies, a day after US President Joe Biden hosted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the White House and promised him continued and unwavering US support.
"Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war," Putin said. "We will strive for an end to this, and the sooner the better, of course."
Russia has persistently said it is open to negotiations, but Ukraine and its allies suspect a ploy to buy time after a series of Russian defeats and retreats that have swung the momentum of the 10-month war in favour of Kyiv.
"I have said many times: the intensification of hostilities leads to unjustified losses," Putin told reporters.
"All armed conflicts end one way or another with some kind of negotiations on the diplomatic track," he added. "Sooner or later, any parties in a state of conflict sit down and make an agreement. The sooner this realisation comes to those who oppose us, the better. We have never given up on this."
Russia says it is Ukraine that is refusing to talk. Kyiv says Russia must halt its attacks and give up all territory it has seized.
Putin also played down the significance of the Patriot air defense system that Biden agreed to supply to Zelenskiy, saying Russia would find a way to counter it.
He said it was "quite old" and did not work like Russia's S-300 system. "An antidote will always be found," he said, boasting Russia would "crack" the Patriots.
"So those who do it are doing it in vain. It's just prolonging the conflict, that's all."
Putin also said a price cap imposed on Russian oil by Western countries, designed to limit its ability to fund the war, would not damage the Russian economy. He said he would sign a decree early next week to set out Russia's response.
“From the beginning, I have insisted on talks with the Russian president,” Zelensky said. “It’s not that I want (to meet him), it’s that I have to meet him so as to settle this conflict by diplomatic means.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Moscow's military action in Ukraine was not responsible for the global food crisis, instead blaming the West for preventing the export of Russian grain.
Addressing the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said, "we are strong people and can cope with any challenge. Like our ancestors, we will solve any problem, the entire thousand-year history of our country speaks of this."
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