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BRUSSELS: The EU on Friday said Russian President Vladimir Putin was looking to destroy Ukraine and that his actions were comparable to those of the Nazis in World War II.

"He is talking about de-Nazifying Ukraine, but he behaves like Nazis. So this is all in his head," EU spokesman Peter Stano told reporters in Brussels.

The spokesman was asked about Putin's purported war aims that include his repeated claim that Russia's invasion was to prevent a "genocide" against Russian speakers in Ukraine.

Ukraine soldiers battle Russian troops in capital

"He's always saying something about preventing genocide, which is total nonsense, because he is committing one or he is about to commit one," Stano said.

"Basically, he wants to destroy Ukraine. He wants to take the independence from Ukraine. He wants to inflict damage and suffering on the Ukrainian people. This is absolutely inhuman," he said.

In the weeks leading up to the Russian invasion, Putin repeated his claims, without evidence, that Ukraine wanted to exterminate Russian speakers in the east of the country.

Putin on Monday questioned Ukraine's right to exist and accused its government of being a "neo-Nazi" regime supported by the West.

Putin ready to send delegation to Minsk for Ukraine talks

He said the West was "closing its eyes... to the genocide that four million people are suffering" -- a reference to the mostly Russian-speaking population of eastern Ukraine.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 14,000 lives since it broke out in 2014 with casualties on both sides.

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