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A Tough Stand: Putin’s Year-End Message Emphasizes Ukraine’s Surrender For Peace 

Putin’s Year-End Message

In his year-end press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that peace in Ukraine could not only be achieved when Russia attains its objectives. He projected confidence in his war efforts, calling for the denazification, demilitarization, and neutral status of Ukraine. Putin’s hardline stance demanded Ukraine’s unconditional surrender, citing the country’s lackluster counteroffensive and delays in US military aid due to partisan infighting.

During the four-hour press conference, Putin addressed various topics, including questions from soldiers on the frontlines and a question delivered by an AI-generated version of himself. He denied rumors of using a body double in public appearances. The Russian president also commented on detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Greshkovich, stating that negotiations with the US were ongoing, potentially leading to the release of Greshkovich and another American, Paul Whelan.

Regarding Russia’s rejection of a US proposal for the American’s release, Putin expressed the need for mutually acceptable agreements. The press conference covered diverse subjects, including the state of the Russian economy, inflation reaching 8%, and a rare apology from Putin in response to a pensioner’s complaint about egg prices.

Putin used the event to reassure the public about the war, claiming Russia had nearly 500,000 contract soldiers and downplaying Ukraine’s counteroffensive. He predicted a drying up of Western support for Ukraine, asserting the country’s reliance on imports could become unsustainable.

The cancellation of last year’s press conference, following Russian troop withdrawals and mass mobilization announcements, aimed to avoid uncomfortable questions. This year, Putin sought to quell concerns at home, emphasizing the strengthening of defensive positions and a lack of need for mass mobilization.

The press conference revealed growing frustration over the war, with questions projected on the studio walls. Putin provided no timeline for ending the conflict but answered questions on troop conditions. Recent polls indicate weariness among Russians, with many desiring an end to the conflict.

Putin boasted about Russia’s wartime economy’s resilience, forecasting 3.5% growth this year. Despite inflation concerns, he claimed recovery from the previous year’s fall. The Russian leader attributed economic rebound in sectors like the automotive and aircraft industries to withstanding Western sanctions.

In his final response, Putin reflected on advice to his 2000 self, cautioning against excessive naivety regarding Western partners. His laidback tone in the press conference was seen as a strategic pre-election message, conveying stability and confidence in managing challenges.

In conclusion, Putin’s year-end address underscored his unwavering stance on Ukraine, expressed confidence in Russia’s war efforts, and aimed to project stability domestically.