Russia cannot stop the war, even if Ukraine abandons hopes for NATO: Dmitry Medvedev

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Russia would not stop its military campaign in Ukraine even if kyiv formally renounced its aspirations to join NATO, former President Dmitry Medvedev, a top ally of leader Vladimir Putin, said on Friday.

Medvedev, the current deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, also said in an interview on French television that his country is willing to hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky under certain conditions.

Even before the February invasion, Moscow made it clear that Ukraine’s NATO membership was unacceptable.

“Giving up its participation in the North Atlantic alliance is now vital, but it is already insufficient to establish peace,” Medvedev told LCI channel in remarks picked up by Russian news agencies.

Russia will continue the campaign to achieve its goals, he noted. Putin says he wants to “denazify” Ukraine, something kyiv and the West call groundless for a war of conquest.

Russia and Ukraine held several rounds of talks after the invasion began, but did not advance the process and there is little prospect of a resumption.

“This (the talks) will depend on how events develop. Earlier we were ready to meet (Zelensky),” Medvedev said, stressing that US weapons already supplied to Ukraine – such as HIMARS multiple rocket launchers – were not yet a substantial threat.

However, that could change if weapons sent by the United States were able to hit targets at greater ranges, he said.

“When this type of missile flies 70 kilometers, it’s one thing,” he said. “However, when it’s 300-400 kilometers away, that’s another, now that would be a direct threat to the territory of the Russian Federation.”

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