Vladimir Putin says Russia will do everything it can to bring the Ukraine war to an end “as soon as possible”, despite the direction of the conflict swinging against his military in recent days.
Russian troops have been routed in parts of the north east with thousands of square kilometres of territory liberated by defence forces near Kharkiv.
The Ukrainian flag flies once again over dozens more settlements, including the key city of Izyum where a mass burial site was unearthed, as a top police investigator expressed his shock at the discovery.
Mass News journalist’s eyewitness report from scene – latest updates on Ukraine war
Ukrainian forces, buoyed by the surging advance near Kharkiv and progress in the south near Kherson, hope to push Russian soldiers out of all Ukrainian territory.
This however is likely not what President Putin means by a swift conclusion to the conflict.
Appearing at a televised summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, he spoke to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.
“I know that today’s era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this,” Mr Modi told the Russian president.
As the Indian leader made the remark, Mr Putin pursed his lips, glanced at him and then looked down before touching the hair on the back of his head.
He told Mr Modi that he understood he had concerns about Ukraine, but that Moscow was doing all it could to end the conflict.
“I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, the concerns that you constantly express,” he said. “We will do everything to stop this as soon as possible.”
Zelenskyy: World must see what Russian army left behind in Izyum
In the recently recaptured city of Izyum, there has been an outcry following the discovery of a mass burial site.
Speaking on Telegram on Friday afternoon, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “Today, the world must see what the Russian army left behind.
“More than four hundred graves are in the forest near Izyum. We still don’t know exactly how many bodies are there…
“Russia has already become the biggest source of terrorism in the world, and no other terrorist power leaves behind so many deaths.
“This must be recognised legally. The world must act. Russia must be recognised as a state sponsor of terrorism.”