Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Moscow has information which shows that Ukraine is receiving weapons from its Western allies.
Putin spoke to the press following a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, using the press conference to reiterate that he was “optimistic” about the chances of the Minsk peace agreement surviving. He predicted that the outcome of the conflict would not be changed by the arming of either side, and noted that the fighting had become less intense, according to rt.com.
Lack of Ukrainian motivation
“I am convinced that whoever is supplying the weapons, the number of victims may grow, but the outcome will not change. The vast majority of soldiers serving in the Ukrainian army have no motivation to participate in an internecine conflict away from home, while the Donbass militia have every reason to defend their families,” Putin said.
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It would seem that Putin is quietly assured of a rebel victory even if the West is arming Ukraine. He then spoke out on the situation in Debaltseve, where thousands of Ukrainian troops are currently surrounded by rebel forces. Putin asked Kiev “not to prevent the soldiers in the Debaltseve cauldron from surrendering, or at least not punish those who simply want to save their lives.”
Putin went on to claim that he was concerned with saving the lives of those trapped by the rebels, as well as ensuring that the situation in Debaltseve does not cause the relationship between Kiev and the rebels even further.
Putin predicts successful conflict resolution
He repeatedly said that he was “more of an optimist than a pessimist” about the successful implementation of the Minsk agreement, claiming that the rest of the front was “more or less quiet.”
Putin seems to believe that the Minsk agreement can provide a framework for conflict resolution, but once again placed the impetus on Kiev to reach an agreement with the rebels.
“It’s extremely important that the authorities in Kiev have agreed to carry out a deep constitutional reform, to satisfy a desire for self-rule in certain regions – whether that reform is called decentralization, autonomization or federalization. This is the deeper meaning of the Minsk accords.”
Both military and political maneuverings are sure to continue for the foreseeable future, and the unpredictable Putin would appear to have the upper hand as things stand.