John Sweeney was invited onto Good Morning Britain on Wednesday to offer an on-the-ground update from Kyiv on the present state of the conflict which in recent weeks has seen Russian forces trapped in a brutal stalemate. Mr Sweeney made a degree of noting that Vladimir Putin “doesn’t look good”, as he discusses the Russian leader’s health within the midst of the military setbacks for the Kremlin.
Mr Sweeney told GMB:”There’s also pressures on Vladimir Putin he’s weather than we predict he’s.
“He still hasn’t called this a war. He’s still not calling for universal conscription because I feel that he’s afraid the mums and dads in Moscow saying we don’t need our sons to go to your silly war.
“And the Chinese are frightened their economy’s in trouble due to the great drought in China and one in all the tributaries to the Yangtzehas dried up, and so they want the Americans and the Europeans and the British to maintain on buying their stuff, and if there may be some sort of recession in Europe and in Britain, then that can hurt the Chinese economy.
“So the Chinese, their interest their strategic interest is different to Putin’s.
He added: “In all of this, the large player is Vladimir Putin and you recognize what is going on on inside his mind in the mean time?
“He was on telly the opposite day he didn’t know well, his face was bloated. That is him from a month ago.
“This could be very completely happy and clappy, here he’s with the ayatollahs etc. But he doesn’t seem like the guy who used to go topless on his horse.
“Not so well. I feel.”
A top ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Moscow wouldn’t stop its military campaign in Ukraine even when Kyiv formally renounced its aspirations to affix NATO.
Former President Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, also said in a French television interview that Russia was prepared to carry talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky subject to certain conditions.
Even before the February invasion, Moscow made clear Ukrainian membership of NATO was unacceptable to it.
“Renouncing its participation within the North Atlantic alliance is now vital, however it is already insufficient in an effort to establish peace,” Medvedev told LCI television in quotes reported by Russian news agencies.
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Russia, he said, would proceed the campaign until its goals had been achieved. Putin says he desires to “denazify” Ukraine.
Kyiv and the West say it is a baseless pretext for a war of conquest.
Russia and Ukraine held several rounds of talks after the invasion began, but they made no progress and there are few prospects for a resumption.
“This (talks) will rely upon how events unfold. We were ready before to fulfill (Zelensky),” Medvedev said.