Putin Denies Plan to Capture Kiev, Says Troops Aimed to Pressure Ukraine into Talks

Russian forces approached the Ukrainian capital only to persuade Vladimir Zelensky’s government to engage in talks, the president has said

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russian forces did not intend to capture Kyiv when they advanced towards the Ukrainian capital in the early stages of the conflict between the two countries.

During a meeting with top Russian diplomats on Friday, Putin addressed ongoing “speculation” in Ukraine and the West regarding the intentions of Russian units that reached the outskirts of Kyiv in late February 2022.

“But there was no political decision to storm the city of 3 million, no matter what anyone says due to their lack of thought,” Putin emphasized.

According to the president, the Russian advance towards Kyiv was “nothing more than an operation to persuade the Ukrainian regime to [make] peace.” 

“The troops were there to motivate the Ukrainian side to engage in negotiations, to try to find an acceptable solution and this way end the war unleashed by Kiev against Donbass back in 2014,” he stated.

Putin stressed that the conflict between the Ukrainian government and the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, which erupted following the Western-backed coup in Kyiv in February 2014, “posed a threat to the security of our country, to the security of Russia.”