A senior ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin says the war in Ukraine can drag on for decades, with long periods of fighting followed by ceasefires, Russia’s RIA news agency reported on Thursday.
Speaking during his visit to Vietnam, former president Dmitry Medvedev said, "This conflict will last a very long time, most likely decades."
"As long as there is such a power in place, there will be, say, three years of truce, two years of conflict, and everything will be repeated," he said, reiterating Moscow's claim that Ukraine is a Nazi state.
Medvedev, who is currently serving as deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, has warned earlier that if Russia loses, a nuclear war could break out.
"The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war," Medvedev said in a post on Telegram, adding that "nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends."
Ukraine: Russian attacks thwarted
Ukrainian officials said Friday their military forces shot down 10 missiles and more than 20 drones launched by Russia in overnight attacks on the capital Kiev, the city of Dnipro, and eastern regions.
A total of 17 missiles and 31 drones were launched in the attacks, which began around 10:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) on Thursday and continued until 5:00 a.m. on Friday.
Several drones and several missiles hit targets in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions, they said.
"It was a very difficult night. It was loud - the enemy launched a mass attack on the region with missiles and drones," Serhiy Lysak, the Dnipropetrovsk regional governor, said on the Telegram messaging app. "Dnipro has suffered."
Russia has reportedly stepped up missile and drone attacks on Ukraine this month, mostly targeting logistics and infrastructure facilities ahead of an expected Ukrainian counterattack.
German chancellor set to talk with Putin
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he planned to speak with President Putin "in due course" and considered the prospect of resuming contacts after the near-total breakdown in relations since the Ukraine war.
“My last telephone call was some time ago,” said Scholz. “But I plan to speak to Putin again in due course.”
In early December, the two leaders spoke by phone, during which, Scholz urged Putin to withdraw Moscow's forces from Ukraine, while the Russian leader accused the West of pursuing "destructive" policies.
Since then, tensions between Moscow and Berlin have escalated, particularly over the Scholz government's decision in January to send German-made heavy battle tanks to Ukraine.
Scholz insisted that his goal was to "actively support Ukraine" while "avoiding direct conflict between NATO and Russia."
He emphasized that Germany does not act alone and all decisions must be coordinated with its allies.
Asked about the prospect of a negotiated end to the conflict, Scholz said Putin had to understand that the war could not be ended by establishing "some kind of cold peace."