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Ukrainian media is citing President Volodymyr Zelensky as questioning whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is even alive and who is responsible for decision-making in Moscow these days.
Cited by Ukrainian media during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Zelensky is said to have told an audience: “I don’t quite understand who to talk to and about what. I’m not sure tha the Russian president who sometimes appears against a green screen … is actually the [right] one.”
"I don't quite understand if he is alive or whether he makes decisions, or whoever else makes decisions there. What group of people [could be making any decisions in Russia]? I don't have that kind of information,” the Ukrainian president continued.
“I just don’t quite understand with whom we are dealing. When we say ‘peace talks’, I don’t quite understand with whom [we should be negotiating],” Zelensky was quoted as saying.
Peskov insisted that the war will end when the Ukrainian regime “shows readiness to take into account the demands of Russia – which will be achieved one way or another …”
Still, Zelensky’s statement, considered to have been delivered in the heat of the moment, will have media impact and raise additional challenges for Putin at home, where speculation abounds over high-level reshuffles as Moscow’s becomes bogged down in a protracted war in which any real notion of victory remains elusive.
Fox News surmises that Zelensky’s comments questioning whether Putin is still alive may have been rooted in the Russian president’s recent withdrawals from public events, including a traditional annual press conference that was cancelled in December.
Earlier this week, Putin was quoted as saying that victory in Ukraine is guaranteed, while Zelenksy this week vowed to retake Crimea, the first territory that Russia occupied in 2014 to a muted Western response.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com