Putin Ally Calls Negotiation Talks a Ruse By Russia to Buy Time to Attack

Russian negotiations with Ukraine are a ruse to delay the war until Russia regains strength to attack, a politician and novelist recently said on Russian state television.

Earlier this month, the Russian Foreign Ministry held a press conference in which spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the nation was open to peace talks and is "ready to negotiate". The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed Ukraine for withdrawing from the negotiation process, but Zakhar Prilepin, who is wanted for war crimes in Ukraine, told Russian state television that negotiations were a ploy to delay the war until Russia could attack with increased forces.

Prilepin told Russian television host Olga Skabeyeva that Russia hoped to start negotiations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, despite the outcome, Prilepin expects the fighting to continue.

"I understand that it's strategically important for us to drag out this situation," Prilepin said of the negotiations with Zelensky. "We clearly aren't ready to launch offensive actions."

Politician Zakhar Prilepin Speaks Into Microphone
Politician Zakhar Prilepin attends an event in Moscow, Russia. Prilepin recently appeared on Russian state television, where he said negotiations were a ruse by Russia to bide time until it regained enough strength to attack Ukraine. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Prilepin said pursuing negotiations with Ukraine would buy Russia enough time to double the size of its forces before advancing. Zelensky has previously said Ukraine was willing to enter into talks with Russia, but only if the Kremlin appointed a president other than current leader Vladimir Putin.

Skabeyeva said Russians feared entering negotiations and said Zelensky was unlikely to do so since Ukraine has seen a slew of victories on the battlefield.

"Of course this wouldn't be to Zelensky's advantage," Prilepin said of the negotiations.

Prilepin said Russian citizens were happy with the strikes the Kremlin was unleashing on Ukraine, but that the strikes wouldn't "beat Kyiv."

"You don't win a war by these strikes," he said. "It has an exclusively narrow purpose—to force them into negotiations."

Prilepin referenced the Minsk agreements, the first of which was drafted in 2014 to end the Donbas war between Russia and Ukraine. Fighting didn't stop, and a revised agreement was signed a year later. Fighting never stopped completely, and the agreement's obligations were never fully met.

"[The Minsk agreements] started as a result of decisive military victories," he said. "If the Russia side really wants negotiations, it should understand that with these strikes alone, our wonderful strikes, we won't induce them to negotiate. We also need the reinforcement of a military victory."

Prilepin said between negotiations and military defeat, the latter weighs more in determining the war's outcome. Even if Russia and Ukraine were to enter into a negotiation that led to a truce, Prilepin said Russia will "unavoidably" have to finish the war by fighting.

"Meanwhile in Russia: accused war criminal Zakhar Prilepin—who spends a lot of time on the frontlines and previously boasted of 'killing many' in Ukraine—admits that Russia wants to negotiate merely to regroup and finish fighting later, any potential peace accords notwithstanding," tweeted Julia Davis, a columnist with The Daily Beast and creator of Russian Media Monitor.