For the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started, Vladimir Putin can be defeated, French Senator Claude Malhuret has said. He and a delegation of senators went on a visit to Ukraine’s devastated cities to inaugurate a Ukrainian House of Europe in Kyiv in a show of solidarity. Having seen the advance of Ukrainian troops on the ground, Senator Malhuret believes Putin can be stopped.
Speaking to French broadcaster LCI, Senator Malhuret said: “For the first time we are in a position to stop him.”
“He is now totally isolated and it won’t be long before we see that China has no desire for things to continue like this, to degenerate,” Senator Malhuret said.
“And so, I’m almost convinced that this defeat, because it’s already an absolutely incomprehensible defeat for him, is confusing him.
“And that the more he backs down because he does back down. He’s going backwards on the ground but he’s also going backwards politically.”
Senator Malhuret comes to that conclusion as Ukrainian defences are holding the line in the Donbas region and have pushed Russian troops further back from Kharkiv. But the besieged port city of Mariupol is still under heavy bombardment.
Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas is the region Putin has coveted most, as fighting has been ongoing in the region since 2014. After recognising the independence of the region’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, he launched what he called a peacekeeping operation aimed at restoring peace.
Russian officials have said they are now fighting for the “complete liberation” of the Donbas.
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Putin also spoke of civilians in the Donbas who “died as a result of reckless shelling and barbaric attacks by neo-Nazis.”
At the beginning of the war, Putin said his peacekeeping operations were meant to “de-nazify” Ukraine – a propaganda message he has been using to justify his invasion.
“He must be stopped at some point,” Senator Malhuret concluded.