War in Ukraine: Putin says invasion ‘has not yet begun in earnest’ | Ukraine and Russia

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the West of carrying out decades of aggression against Moscow and warned that Western countries might even try to beat Russia on the battlefield, but that would spell tragedy for Ukraine.

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In a meeting with Russian lawmakers, the Russian leader made several mentions of nations that support Ukrainian forces. He said Russia’s offensive against the neighboring country, which began in February, had not yet “started in earnest”.

He also provoked the countries of the West: “We currently hear that [os países ocidentais] they want to defeat us on a battlefield. What to say to them? Let them try their luck!”

Putin left the door open to negotiation. “We do not reject holding peace talks, but those who reject them should know that it will be more difficult to reach an agreement” with Russia further down the road, he said.

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This Friday (8), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has a closed-door meeting of G20 ministers of state in Indonesia. This will be the first time Putin’s top diplomat has met with his most outspoken opponents since the invasion of Ukraine in February.

In Ukraine, the regional governor of the northeastern city of Kharkiv said late on Thursday that three people had been killed and another five wounded after Russian forces bombed the city.

A new Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine is expected.

“We have heard several times that the West wants to fight us down to the last Ukrainian. This is a tragedy for the people of Ukraine, but it seems that everything is heading towards that,” Putin said in a televised statement to parliamentary leaders.

The West has failed in its attempt to contain Russia, and its sanctions against Moscow have caused difficulties “but not on the scale intended,” Putin said. Russia has not rejected peace talks, but the longer the conflict stretches, the more difficult it will be to reach an agreement, he said.

Boris Johnson supported Ukraine

Earlier, Ukraine lost one of its main international supporters after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned.

Boris Johnson's departure will be most felt in the relationship with the EU and in the war in Ukraine, highlights analyst

Boris Johnson’s departure will be most felt in the relationship with the EU and in the war in Ukraine, highlights analyst

Ukraine said it hoped British support would continue, and thanked Johnson for defending Ukraine’s interests, though Moscow did not hide its satisfaction at the political decline of a leader it has long criticized for arming Kiev so emphatically.

In a phone call, Johnson told Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky: “You are a hero, everyone loves you,” a spokesman for Johnson said.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described the British prime minister as a “true friend of Ukraine” for being among the first world leaders to unequivocally condemn the invasion and also “for helping Ukraine to defend itself and win this war in the future”.

Johnson’s resignation comes at a time of domestic turmoil in some other European countries that support Kiev, and doubts about his staying in power for what has become a protracted conflict.

The day began with a bold ceremony by Ukraine, which raised its flag in a ceremony on the so-called Snake Island in the Black Sea, which was recaptured from the Russians south of the Ukrainian port of Odessa.

Moscow responded quickly, with its warplanes bombing the strategic island shortly afterwards and destroying part of the Ukrainian detachment in the territory, the Russian government said.

Russia stifles attacks in eastern Ukraine

Russia stifles attacks in eastern Ukraine

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