Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed that Vladimir Putin will die a beaten man.
He said Russian forces realise ‘deep down in their hearts’ they cannot win in Ukraine and poured scorn on the idea the conflict could drag on for decades like some of the Kremlin’s other wars.
‘It can’t,’ Zelensky told Brazil’s TV Globo. ‘Putin won’t live that many years. He did not fight in Syria at the pace he is fighting us. That is why he will not stand 30 years.
‘He will not exist, he will die. This, obviously, is absolute.’
Zelensky predicted Putin ‘won’t survive even 10 years’, adding: ‘He is not that figure.’
He said the actions of Russia’s troops show they are ‘not able to completely occupy Ukraine and destroy us’.
‘They were capable at the beginning of it,’ the president went on. ‘They thought they would. And we did something inside the state and from outside that we were able to become stronger than them.’
Vowing to resist any bid by Russia – either now or in the future – to regroup and subjugate his country, he said: ‘As long as we are alive, we will not let them become as strong as they were.’
Zelensky’s comments came as Russian missiles once again pummelled his hometown in central Ukraine, killing six people including a 10-year-old girl and her mother.
The strike happened a day after the Ukrainian president warned that war is coming back to Russia.
He said attacks on ‘symbolic centres and military bases’ were an ‘inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process’ after a drone attack on Moscow.
The ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive, deploying weaponry supplied by Western allies and aimed at driving Russian forces out of occupied areas, intensified last week.
At the same time, Kyiv has sought to take the war deep into Russia, reportedly using drones to hit targets as far away as the capital.
The latest strike, on Sunday, damaged two office buildings a few miles from the Kremlin. Ukrainian officials did not acknowledge the attack.
Russia tightened security in the aftermath of that attack, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday, describing the assault as an ‘act of desperation’.
‘The Kyiv regime is in a very, very difficult situation,’ Peskov said, ‘as the counteroffensive is not working out as planned.
‘It’s obvious that the multibillion-dollar resources that have been transferred by NATO countries to the Kyiv regime are actually being spent inefficiently.
‘This raises big questions in Western capitals and great discomfort among taxpayers in Western countries.’
Analysts predict Putin is betting that Western support for Ukraine will wane as the war drags on and costs mount.
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