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Putin ‘needs exit strategy’ as peace talks continue with Russian army weakness ‘exposed’ | World | News

Moscow has said it will drastically reduce military activity near Kyiv and Chernihiv, as peace talks between Russia and Ukraine continue. But this statement has been met with skepticism by the West, with the US and UK both saying it should be treated with caution. Chernihiv Governor Viacheslav Chaus also claimed the fighting had not stopped there, despite Russia’s promises.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said there were no signs of a breakthrough in resuming negotiations between the two countries.

Russia’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia did not see “something really promising”, although he welcomed Kyiv for making its demands to end the conflict.

Russian troops have been plagued with equipment and strategic errors since they launched their invasion of Ukraine last month.

Mr Connolly, who is a former BBC Moscow correspondent, claimed that Putin needed a “short war” because of Russia’s “military weakness”.

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Speaking to Mr Connolly said: “Putin needs a short war I think.

“Due to the revelation of Russia’s military weakness, since he will not be able to occupy Ukraine, I think it is beyond Russia’s military capacity.

“So he’s going to need an exit strategy from this, but he has the luxury of all autocrats he doesn’t have the short-term pressures from his own people that he needs to be aware of or worry about.”

The West imposed heavy sanctions on Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, which Putin called an “economic blitzkrieg”.

“Ukraine is the largest country in Europe [except Russia]. It has a population of 40 million, many of whom would be fiercely hostile to the Russian occupation.

“The work is expensive and difficult and uses a lot of labor and costs a lot of money.

“I don’t think Russia has such an option.”

Last week the Kremlin said it would refocus its military offensive on the Donbas.

The region, in eastern Ukraine, contains the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, where Putin is trying to establish puppet states.

But as negotiations continued, Connolly warned that Ukraine may have to “pay a very high price” for peace, in the form of the country’s eastern region.

Mr Connolly said: “I think we are in a period of real brutality, because to put pressure on Ukraine in negotiations, I think Russia is going to bombard the Ukrainian civilian population.

“I fear that there will be dark times to come for some cities in Ukraine.

“It is possible that Ukraine backing away from its NATO ambitions would be a helpful condition.

“I think Russia will probably accept most of eastern Ukraine and give itself ground connections to Crimea and the Black Sea.

“But that would be a very high price for Ukraine to pay, and would give Russia territory for starting a war of aggression.

“But there is a possible landing point there, and as I said, I don’t think Russia has the capacity to occupy Ukraine.”