Putin suggests African or Chinese peace initiatives could help end its war with Ukraine

Mr Putin speaks during a press conference following the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg

Mr Putin speaks during a press conference following the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg – Reuters

Vladimir Putin has indicated that African or Chinese peace initiatives could be the basis for ending the war in Ukraine.

But the Russian president on Saturday warned it was hard to implement a ceasefire when the Ukrainian Army was on the offensive.

It is not the first time that the suggestion over a peace deal has been made and comes in the wake of African leaders pressing him on Friday to forge ahead with their plan to end the Ukraine conflict.

Mr Putin said: “We do not reject talks on Ukraine.”

He said on Saturday he would not attend a summit of the BRICS nations in August in person as he did not see the visit as more important than him staying in Russia.

The Kremlin said last week that Mr Putin would instead dial into the summit by video call and that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would be at the Johannesburg summit instead when it takes place on August 22-24.

The Russian leader revealed that Moscow carried out some preventive strikes after what it called a Ukrainian “terrorist attack” on the Crimean Bridge.

But he would not elaborate as to where the strikes had been staged or give more details.

Moscow blamed Ukraine for the attack that led to a Russian couple being killed and their 14-year-old daughter being wounded last week in the strike on the road linking Russia to Crimea.

He further criticised the West for hypocrisy over the war in Ukraine and highlighted the conflict in Syria.

Mr Putin also claimed Ukraine had lost 415 tanks and 1,300 armoured vehicles since June 4 and added there were “no serious changes” on the Ukrainian front for now.

A Russian rocket attack killed one civilian and injured five more in the northeastern city of Sumy late on Saturday, Ukraine’s interior ministry said.

“During the evening of July 29, an enemy missile hit an educational institution,” the ministry said on Telegram.

“At least one civilian was killed and 5 civilians were wounded.”

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