US official slams Putin, fears ‘long-term conflict’ between Russia and Ukraine

US official slams Putin, fears ‘long-term conflict’ between Russia and Ukraine

A senior US official said Monday that she feared a “long-term conflict” between Russia and Ukraine following Vladimir Putin’s “Victory Day” speech.

“He [Putin] didn’t announce a withdrawal. He didn’t announce a deal with the Ukrainians,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in an interview with CNN. “So I suspect, and we all assess, that this could be a long-term conflict that could carry on for additional months.”

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Thomas-Greenfield spoke hours after Putin gave a speech during a military parade in Moscow. The Russian president, who ordered an invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, claimed, without providing evidence, that Western countries were planning on invading Russia and Crimea.

Western officials, including American officials, had predicted that Putin would use the occasion to escalate the conflict and officially declare war on Ukraine. So far, he has called Russia’s invasion a “special military operation.”

But Thomas-Greenfield said Putin could not declare victory and that he failed in achieving his objectives in Ukraine.

“His efforts in Ukraine have not succeeded,” the US diplomat said, adding that Putin was unable to “bring [Ukrainians] to their knees in a few days.”

Thomas-Greenfield also said that Putin had “no reason” to declare victory or war, already in its second month.

She reiterated previous American calls for Putin to withdraw his troops out of Ukraine immediately and “bring this unconscionable war to an end.”

Separately, the US diplomat said that Russian forces were stealing from and attacking Ukrainian farmers.

“There is some evidence that Russia, not only have they been attacking farmers’ fields, they’ve been taking equipment, but also that they have removed grain from silos and taken that grain into Russia,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Thomas-Greenfield condemned Russian behavior and said their actions showed the world “that there are no limits… to their willingness to use every single tool to bring the Ukrainian people down.”

Read more: US has completed training hundreds of Ukrainian forces on new weapons: Pentagon