Russia cannot co-exist with the present “regime” in Kyiv, a senior Russian official said on Tuesday, reaffirming the goals of what President Vladimir Putin calls a special military operation to “demilitarise” Ukraine.
Putin sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022, triggering a war in Europe and the most serious confrontation between Russia and the West since the depths of the Cold War.
“The current regime (in Kyiv) is absolutely toxic, we do not see any options for co-existence with it at the moment,” Russian Ambassador-at-Large Rodion Miroshnik told reporters in Moscow.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has ruled out talks with Putin, while leaving the door open to talks with Russia.
Miroshnik’s post was created to collect evidence of alleged Ukrainian crimes against civilians. Moscow also faces allegations by Kyiv and its allies that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine. Moscow denies the allegations.
Miroshnik, a former official in the Russian-backed self-styled separatist administration of the “Luhansk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine, accused Ukrainian forces of committing crimes against civilians in regions that Moscow now says it has annexed.
Ukraine is carrying out its own investigations into alleged Russian war crimes on its territory, and accuses Moscow of deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure in air strikes. Russia denies this.
A UN-mandated body has chronicled war crimes it says Russian forces have committed in Ukraine, and the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Putin for the illegal deportation of hundreds of children from Ukraine.
Russia, which does not recognise the jurisdiction of the ICC, has rejected the allegations against Putin.
Miroshnik said Russia could resist NATO as long as was needed to defeat Ukrainian forces and that the West would eventually lose interest, meaning the Kyiv leadership would collapse. Kyiv says it will continue fighting until the last Russian soldier has left its territory, and its Western allies have said they will continue to support Ukraine.