Sep 16, 2022 - World

Putin: "We aren't in a rush" in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his press conference at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit on September 16.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a press conference at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit on Sept. 16. Photo: Contributor/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Friday that his country will continue its military operation in Ukraine despite a recent, lightning counteroffensive, saying, "We aren't in a rush," AP reports.

Why it matters: Putin's remarks came after Russia earlier this month faced one of its greatest setbacks of the war so far — and as he aimed to quell international concerns while attending a global summit in Uzbekistan.

Driving the news: Putin on Friday also accused Ukraine of launching attacks "near our nuclear facilities, nuclear power plants" and warned that Russia will do "everything to prevent any negative turn of events."

  • "We will retaliate if they fail to understand that such methods are unacceptable, they don’t differ from terrorism,” he said after attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
  • Putin, in response to a question about Ukraine's counteroffensive, said: "Let’s [see] how it develops and how it ends."

The big picture: Earlier this month, Ukraine launched a counter-offensive on Kherson in southern Ukraine, before following up with a push near Kharkiv in the northeast, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

  • Putin's troops were forced to withdraw from the areas surrounding Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city.
  • The Kremlin earlier this week insisted that Russia would continue to wage its war "until all the goals that were originally set are achieved"

State of play: Putin on Friday also sought to quell Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's concern about the war, telling the PM that he wanted the conflict "to end ... as quickly as possible" and accused Ukraine of resisting negotiations.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Putin of the same, per AP.
  • Putin made similar comments to China's President Xi Jinping on Thursday during the pair's first in-person encounter since Russian forces launched their invasion.
  • Putin thanked Xi for his government’s "balanced position" on the Ukraine war, per AP.

What they're saying: National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby on Friday condemned the mass burial site found near Izyum as "horrifying" and "repugnant."

  • "[Putin] is only further isolating himself from the international community. We don't believe that now is the time to be doing any business as usual with Russia with respect to what they're doing in Ukraine," he said during a news conference.

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