'We're Never Leaving': Russian TV Pundits Warn of Lengthy Ukraine Conflict

A prominent anchor on Russian state television has warned that its country's forces are "never leaving" Ukraine.

The comments by Vladimir Solovyov on Russia-1 suggest that state-backed television is pushing the line that Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine is likely to be a lengthy one. As Newsweek has previously reported, guests on Russia-1's programs get their talking points from the Kremlin.

On Sunday, Solovyov said that the troops in the pro-Russian self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics are "fighting for their land" in the Donbas region, he then went on to ask what is the Ukrainian territorial defense fighting for when "none of it is their land."

After withdrawing from the Kyiv region, Putin's campaign has focused on Donbas in Ukraine's east where Russian forces have stepped up their bombardment beyond the frontlines.

"We are telling people, come to your senses," Solovyov continued, "We're telling people, remember who you are. Look who conquered you. Remember your great past. Wake up, stop lying to yourselves."

Solovyov then rehashed arguments that both Putin and the Kremlin have made to justify the war by raising questions about Ukraine's very right to exist as he took aim at the legitimacy of the country's language and culture.

"Why are they making up a language," he said, "do you need that language that [Volodymr] Zelensky is trying to speak?" he said, referring to the Ukrainian president.

"Look at the history that is being made up for you, the religion that is being made up for you," he added during the latest edition of Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov. "That is why the people are for us. Westerners say, 'they are not greeting you with flowers.' Yes, they are, despite their fear, they are welcoming us and they will welcome us even more when they understand we are never leaving."

The clip was shared by journalist and Russia watcher Julia Davis. "More genocidal talk on Russian state TV: falsely claiming that Ukrainians are just Russians who need to be reminded that the Ukrainian language, history and religion are 'made up,'" she tweeted along with the video.

She added that the sentiment showed how Russia believed its troops in Ukraine "are fighting for 'their land'" as well as "planning to never leave."

Davis also shared a clip from the same program in which the editor-in-chief of Kremlin propaganda channel RT, Margarita Simonyan, a regular guest on the channel, warned that Russia would either win or "this will end badly for all humanity."

She did not specify how she felt it would end badly, but Channel-1 has pushed anti-NATO rhetoric and even raised the prospect of nuclear missile strikes on Western capitals.

Simonyan also took the line that the war would be lengthy, saying that the confrontation between Russia and the West would go on "forever" and that people must "get used to this new life."

Newsweek has reached out to the Ukrainian foreign ministry for comment.

Ukrainian Territorial Defense soldiers
Ukrainian Territorial Defense soldiers patrol near the frontline on May 22, 2022 near Ruska Lozova, Ukraine. Russian TV anchor Vladimir Solovyov said on Russia-1 that his country’s troops are “never leaving” Ukraine. John Moore/Getty Images