Ex-ambassador warns it’s ‘delusional’ to think Putin will end war ‘if we ask politely’

Embarrassing defeat raises doubts over Russia main objective

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With almost three months into the war, fierce fighting continued in Ukraine’s eastern city of Severodonetsk. Capturing Severodonetsk – and its twin city of Lysychansk – has for weeks been the key target for Russian troops.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the “overwhelming majority” of Russian missile strikes are targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.

In a scathing warning, the former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul tweeted: “Nothing is more naive, delusional, or unrealistic than believing that Putin will end his invasion if we ask him politely and diplomatically.

“There will be no peace in Ukraine until Putin’s army stops advancing.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) has confirmed that civilian casualties in Russia’s war on Ukraine have exceeded the 10,000 mark.

Officials said they have recorded 10,046 civilian casualties in the country, including 4,481 who were killed and 5,565 injured.

Ukraine has seen the most casualties in the eastern Donbas region, where 2,611 civilians have been killed and 3,103 have been injured, the UN office said.

Donbas is the site of the heaviest fighting in the besieged country at present.

Officials have said that the actual numbers are likely higher.

Mr Zelesnky said that Russia has been attacking residential buildings, schools, hospitals, transport and enterprises.

Speaking at a news conference with Boris Johnson, following the UK Prime Minister’s surprise visit to Kyiv, Zelenskyy said the “paramount” task for the West is to help Ukraine defend itself from Russian rockets.

The two leaders also discussed how to “step up” sanctions against Russia, Zelenskyy said, adding: “We can make sanctions very, very tangible in order to make sure that Russia feels the consequences of his or its terrorist acts against Ukraine and international stability.”

Meanwhile, the Russian leader on Friday said that the restoration of Russia’s relations with Ukraine is “inevitable”.

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He was speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

He said: “We proceed from the fact that sooner or later the situation will normalise, and we are interested in prosperity for all our neighbours, then it is inevitable.”

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