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The war in Ukraine has now raged on for more than 270 days with President Volodymyr Zelensky declaring that Ukraine “will endure” at a speech marking the country’s national day of Dignity and Freedom. But John Bolton, the former assistant to the President for American National Security Affairs, has claimed Putin will seek to appear as if he is willing to engage in peace talks in order to keep the land already taken from Ukraine – rather than allow a Ukrainian victory.
Speaking to Times Radio on November 17, Mr Bolton explained that Putin is attempting to convince Europe he is looking for a way to end the war in a bid to split NATO and keep the territory he has taken so far.
As it stands, Ukraine has won back more than half the territory Russia captured since the beginning of the war according to the Institute for the Study of War’s data.
Russia recently suffered a major setback after it lost the city of Kherson with Putin incurring a further blow at the beginning of October when the bridge between Russia and annexed Crimea was severely damaged in an explosion.
Mr Bolton said if Putin wants to split Europe – as he believes he does – and keep the status quo on the ground as it is now, he must engage in talks now.
He explained: “I believe what [Putin’s] trying to do is convince people, Europeans in particular, that he is looking for a way to end this war, he’s hoping to fragment the Western alliance and I think he believes he can outtalk Zelensky.
“Zelensky has rejected this alternative in the past and I would tell him to reject it again. I think Ukraine’s bargaining posture here gets stronger every day that goes by.”
Putin’s war is not going as he had hoped with Mr Bolton claiming Russia’s military performance is not showing “signs of improvement”, meaning the Russian leader may resort to emerging with the status quo.
However, sources told the Daily Mail that President Zelensky will only be open to peace talks with Putin if all Ukrainian territory is reclaimed.
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A poll conducted in September by Gallup found that 70 percent of Ukrainians want the war to continue until they achieve victory with 91 percent saying “victory” means all Ukrainian territory seized by Russia is recaptured, including Crimea.
But Mr Bolton warned that Putin may rely on the fact that the rest of the world may not be as resolute as the economic outlook continues to worsen.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced last week that the UK will be sending £2.3billion to Ukraine.
The Russian President’s invasion of Ukraine has also affected the energy crisis with gas and electricity increasing by “eight times their historic average”, Mr Hunt explained during the autumn statement.
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Mr Bolton continued: “I think Putin is trying to drive up the cost of the war economically. Ukrainian resolve is not going to be broken on this attack on their electrical power generation infrastructure but somebody’s going have to pay to replace it.
“In the face of recession, both Europe and the United States are going to face, hoping that our resolve will crack even if Ukrainians’ doesn’t it.”
According to the Government website, more than 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged or completely destroyed by Russian attacks.
The recent strikes causing destruction to Ukraine’s transmission lines, power stations, and pipelines have left ten million people without power.
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