Ukraine’s ‘optimistic predictions’ war with Russia to end this year – ‘We must stop them’

Ukraine: Video appears to show Russian helicopter blown up

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Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has told a security forum that Russia must be stopped and “restrained” in the future – for the safety of Ukraine and other nearby countries. The statement comes after France’s President Emmanuel Macron was criticised for saying the West should not “humiliate” Moscow.

Ukraine’s Defence Minister has said it is “possible” that the war with Russia could be over by the end of this year.

Mr Reznikov was speaking at an international security forum just hours after the war entered its 100th day.

He said: “Russia continues to make efforts to occupy our entire state.

“It is currently impossible to predict when the war will end, but my optimistic predictions are that it will be possible to do it this year.”

But he warned that, until the Russians are forced out of Ukraine, other countries are also at risk, saying: “Next will be Poland, the Baltic countries, Slovakia, and others.

“That is why we must stop Russia and restrain (them) in the future.”

His warning over Russia’s ambitions came after French President Emmanuel Macron was criticised for saying that Moscow must not be “humiliated” over the invasion of its neighbour.

Mr Macron said it was crucial President Vladimir Putin had a way out of what he called a “fundamental error”.

In an interview with a regional newspaper, Mr Macron said: “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.”

In response, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted: “Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it.”

He added: “We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place.”

Meanwhile, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has said Moscow’s anti-aircraft forces have shot down dozens of Ukrainian weapons and are “cracking them like nuts”, in an interview that aired on Saturday.

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According to Reuters, Russian news agency RIA, which first cited the comments, quoted Putin as responding to a question about US-supplied arms by saying Russia was coping easily and had already destroyed the weapons by the dozen.

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