Ukraine army (illustrative)
Ukraine army (illustrative)iStock

Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Gennady Gatilov, has clarified that his country will not hold direct talks with Ukraine to end the war, which has been raging since February, the Financial Times reported.

According to Gatilov, Russia expects a prolonged conflict. Gatilov also claimed that in April, both Russia and Ukraine had been "very close" to reaching an agreement, but the US and NATO allies pushed Ukraine to walk away from the talks.

"Now, I do not see any possibility for diplomatic contacts," he told the Times. "And the more the conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be to have a diplomatic solution."

Adding that it is impossible to predict how long the war will last, Gatilov said that Western countries "will fight until the last Ukrainian." At the same time, he added, the UN should be taking a more prominent role in attempts to end the conflict.

Earlier this month, The Hill quoted Colin Kahl, Defense Department under secretary for policy, as telling reporters that, "The Russians are taking a tremendous number of casualties."

"There’s a lot of fog in war but I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians have probably taken 70 or 80,000 casualties in the less than six months," he said then.

Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow is expanding the scope of the Ukraine war beyond the eastern Donbas region.

At the time, Lavrov told state news agency RIA Novosti that Russia’s new goals in the conflict will include expanding deeper into Ukrainian territory if Western nations continue sending Kyiv long-range missiles, such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).