Russia’s ambassador to the US hinted at a split in the Kremlin Sunday — as NATO declared Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is not going to plan, according to reports.
Anatoly Antonov, a military officer and diplomat, implied during an appearance on state-run TV that some powerful people inside the Kremlin are ready to give up the brutal invasion, which began more than two months ago.
The 67-year-old senior diplomat — who insisted he’s not among those willing to fold — said some forces want to move back troops and “repent.”
He added that US officials are covertly giving the Kremlin the terms of negotiations — including moving back troops — in order to stop the fighting.
“The Americans are pushing us into negotiations, but with certain conditions,” he said, according to the UK Metro. “I would specify three of them.”
“First, to stop military action as part of the special military operation. Second, to move our troops back to where they were before 24 February,” he said. The third is “to repent for everything we have done.”
But he stressed that the Russian military won’t back down.
“Naturally we are saying firm and clear, and we are unambiguously sure of this — at least the Russian diplomats that work here there will be no such capitulation. Never!” he said.
“We are firmly convinced — and it would have been harder to work without this certainty— that all tasks set by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief will be fully completed. We will never surrender, and never go back.”
His comments came as NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, warned that Russia’s invasion is going south, the BBC reported Sunday.
Moscow’s attempt to capture the eastern Donbas region has “stalled” — which could lead to Ukraine winning the conflict, he said.
“Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as Moscow had planned,” Stoltenberg said while speaking at a meeting of Nato foreign ministers.
“They failed to take Kyiv, they are pulling back from around Kharkiv, their major offensive in Donbas has stalled. Russia is not achieving its strategic objectives,” he said.
Stoltenberg’s assertion came after an attempt by the Russian army to gain ground in parts of eastern Ukraine, and after Moscow’s forces changed its invasion strategy in the age after setbacks near Kyiv.