US Says Putin Finally "Acknowledging Reality" After 300 Days Of War
The Biden administration has responded to a Thursday speech by Vladimir Putin wherein the Russian leader used the word "war" for the first time to refer to what for ten months he previously only called a "special military operation". The State Department on Friday called on Putin to keep "acknowledging reality" and to pull his troops from Ukraine.
"Since Feb. 24, the United States and rest of the world knew that Putin's 'special military operation' was an unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine. Finally, after 300 days, Putin called the war what it is," a State Department spokesperson said.
"As a next step in acknowledging reality, we urge him to end this war by withdrawing his forces from Ukraine," the US official added.
The statement explained that regardless of Putin's now apparent shift in terminology, it remains that "Russia's aggression against its sovereign neighbor has resulted in death, destruction and displacement."
"The people of Ukraine no doubt find little consolation in Putin stating the obvious, nor do the tens of thousands of Russian families whose relatives have been killed fighting Putin's war," the spokesperson said.
Putin had said at a Thursday televised news conference: "Our goal is not to spin this flywheel of a military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war," adding that "This is what we are striving for."
Putin's unprecedented word choice of "war" came the day after Ukrainian President Zelensky visited Washington and met with President Biden, and gave an address before Congress, wherein he pledged "absolute victory". Kremlin officials have throughout the invasion carefully avoided using the term "war" in describing the Ukraine invasion.
US policymakers and defense officials have been forecasting a "very extended conflict" which could last "years" - and at the same time there seems little appetite for any level of dialogue or peace talks on either side.