According to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), recent inflammatory statements by former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev regarding Ukraine indicate Moscow lacks any genuine interest in negotiations with Kyiv.
“Medvedev’s January 17 statement is one of many recent signals from senior Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, that Putin and the Kremlin have no interest in good-faith negotiations with Ukraine and that Putin’s maximalist war aims in Ukraine remain unchanged,” the ISW assessment states.
Medvedev reiterated that the elimination of Ukrainian statehood and independence remains one of Russia’s core war aims. He claimed that the presence of an independent Ukrainian state on “historical Russian territories” ensures endless conflict, stating that even Ukraine’s entry into the EU or NATO could not prevent future hostility from Moscow.
ISW notes that Medvedev left vague precisely which territories he considers “historical Russian lands.”
“Medvedev’s opacity may be intentional, as the Kremlin’s loosely defined concept of “historical Russian territories” allows the Kremlin to pursue expansionist objectives wherever and whenever it so determines in a broad area including Central Asia, the Caucuses and parts of Eastern Europe,” the ISW assessment states.
Remarks questioning Ukraine’s right to independent statehood echo recurring themes in Putin’s rhetoric. Ahead of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Putin frequently referenced restoring “historic Russia” in the form of a revived Soviet Union or Russian Empire encompassing Ukraine.