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The Kremlin accuses the United States of using Ukraine as a battlefield to weaken Russia

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Russia on Thursday accused Kyiv and Washington of turning a blind eye to its concerns and accused the United States of using Ukraine as a battleground to weaken Russia.

This came as President Vladimir Putin insisted that Russia aimed for a quick end to the fighting.

“Our goal … is to end this conflict. We are striving for that,” he told reporters. “We will endeavor to make sure everything is over, and the sooner, the better.”

“All conflicts end, one way or another, with talks… The sooner our opponents (in Kyiv) understand this, the better,” Putin said.

The Russian army chief said that Russian forces are now focused on wresting control of the eastern Donetsk region, where the ruined city of Bakhmut has become the center of the fighting.

Officials in Moscow have said repeatedly in recent months that they have not ruled out talks with Ukraine.

They blamed the closure of diplomatic channels on President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has said he will not negotiate while Putin is in power.

Ukraine’s leader returned from a historic trip to Washington, where he told Congress his country was “alive and kicking” and that its support was an investment in global security.

He received a hero’s welcome for Wednesday’s lightning trip, in which US President Joe Biden pledged nearly $1.8 billion in military supplies including, for the first time, the Patriot missile defense system.

Putin warned that this could lead to further conflict, saying: “Those who confront us say that this is a defensive weapon… There will always be an antidote.”

“People who do this do it in vain,” he told reporters. “It just prolongs the conflict, that’s all.”

Earlier, the Kremlin said that Biden and Zelensky do not listen to “Russia’s concerns.”

“Not a single word was heard warning Zelensky that residential buildings in towns and villages in Donbass would continue to be bombed, and there were no real calls for peace,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

He added, “This indicates that the United States is continuing its actual line of waging an indirect war with Russia to the end of Ukraine.”

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