MOSCOW: Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council and an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said on Monday (Mar 4) that Ukraine was part of Russia and ruled out peace talks with the current Ukrainian leadership.

In a bellicose speech in southern Russia, Medvedev said Russia would prosecute what it calls its “special military operation” until the other side capitulated. He said that what he called historical parts of Russia should “return home.”

Medvedev was speaking in front of a map of Ukraine which showed the country as a much smaller landlocked rump of territory squeezed up against Poland with Russia in complete control of its east, south and Black Sea coastline.

“One of Ukraine’s former leaders said at some point that Ukraine is not Russia,” said Medvedev.

“That concept needs to disappear forever. Ukraine is definitely Russia,” he said to applause from the audience.

He ruled out peace talks with the current Ukrainian leadership led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and said any future Ukrainian government that wanted talks would need to recognise what he called the new reality on the ground.

Commenting on East-West relations, Medvedev, who accused US special forces and military advisers of waging war against Russia, said that ties between Moscow and Washington were worse than during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

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