In a recent telephone discussion with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian leader Vladimir Putin attributed the current increase in conflict to Ukraine. In a statement published by the Kremlin after the call, Putin accused the Kyiv administration of adopting a “destructive stance” with the assistance of “Western backers” by increasing the number of weapons and military technologies used to escalate the conflict.
This follows Russia’s overwhelming assault on Ukraine, which it invaded approximately eleven months ago. Then, at least 40 people were killed when a Russian missile struck a high-rise building in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro.
The Kremlin has also asserted that Ukraine is unwilling to engage, citing Ukraine’s rejection of a ceasefire proposal made by Putin over the Orthodox Christmas season in early January as evidence. Ukraine rejected the offer as disingenuous, and many foreign observers interpreted it as a propaganda ploy by Vladimir Putin. During this time, both sides continued to fire their weapons. Ukraine has stressed its willingness to engage, but only on the condition that Russian soldiers evacuate from unlawfully captured land.