Putin says he will continue war and create "buffer zone"

Putin at his headquarters on 17 March. Photo: RIA Novosti
Putin at his headquarters on 17 March. Photo: RIA Novosti
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to continue the war against Ukraine and strengthen the Russian Armed Forces during his new presidential term. He has also threatened to treat "traitors" from volunteer formations "as if they were in a war zone".

Source: Putin speaking at his campaign headquarters, as quoted by Russian Kremlin-aligned news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS

Details: Putin said the allegedly high turnout in the elections was due to the "dramatic events that the country is experiencing".

"We are being forced to literally defend the interests of our citizens with weapons in our hands," he said cynically, referring to the armed aggression against Ukraine.

Speaking about the challenges of his new term, the Russian president said that it was necessary to "address the tasks of the special military operation [as the Russians call the war in Ukraine – ed.] and strengthen defence capabilities and the armed forces".

He also said that all law enforcement agencies would be instructed to expose anyone fighting against Russia with arms.

According to Putin, representatives of the Russian Volunteer Corps are being "thrown like cannon fodder into meat-grinder assaults on the state border". He compared the RVC to Vlasov's army [Russians who fought for the Germans in the Second World War] and claimed that out of 1,500 volunteers, "about 800 people have been killed".

Russian President said that Russia does not have the death penalty, but "we will treat traitors as if they were in a war zone".

Putin also said that Russia "is for peace talks, but only if it is not because the enemy is running out of ammunition".

Putin also stated that Russia may at some point create a "sanitary zone" (a buffer zone) on the territory of Ukraine. He claimed it would be so deep that it would be difficult for "means of destruction, primarily foreign-made," to get over it.

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