President Vladimir Putin has warned the West against underestimating Russia, saying it is "impossible" to defeat his country in Ukraine, but that Moscow does not intend to expand the war to Poland and Latvia.
In an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Putin said Western leaders have now acknowledged the futility of attempting to impose a strategic defeat on Russia.
"Up until now, there has been the uproar and screaming about inflicting a strategic defeat to Russia on the battlefield,” Putin said during the rare more than two-hour interview.
“But now they are apparently coming to realize that it is difficult to achieve, if possible, at all. In my opinion, it is impossible by definition," he added.
Putin called on the United States to “make an agreement” with Russia in order to end the war.
"Wouldn't it be better to negotiate with Russia? Make an agreement. Already understanding the situation that is developing today, realizing that Russia will fight for its interests to the end," he said. "We are ready for this dialogue," he said.
The interview with Carlson which came ahead of the second anniversary of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine was the first one-on-one interview of Putin by someone from the Western media since 2019.
Putin stated that he had no interest in Poland or Latvia but would send its troops if Poland attacked Russia.
"Only in one case, if Poland attacks Russia. Why? Because we have no interest in Poland, Latvia, or anywhere else. Why would we do that? We simply don't have any interest," he said.
Putin dedicated a significant portion of the interview to expressing his dissatisfaction with Ukraine's actions, stating that Russia had come close to reaching an agreement to cease hostilities during talks in Istanbul in April 2022.
However, he said, Ukraine backed out of the deal once Russian troops withdrew from the vicinity of Kiev.
"Well now let them think how to reverse the situation," he said. "We're not against it. It would be funny if it were not so sad that. This endless mobilization in Ukraine, the hysteria, the domestic problems, sooner or later it will result in an agreement."
He also cited US Congress, where Republicans are displaying a growing hesitancy to continue supporting Ukraine through the provision of weaponry and other forms of military assistance.
"I will tell you what we are saying on this matter and what we are conveying to the US leadership. If you really want to stop fighting, you need to stop supplying weapons," he said.
Upon being asked about the possible outcome of the US polls scheduled to be held in November, Putin indicated little change.
"You just asked me if another leader comes and changes something? It is not about the leader. It is not about the personality of a particular person," he said.
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