RIGA, Latvia — After a weekend of steep battlefield setbacks for Russia, the Kremlin's top spokesman said Monday that the war in Ukraine would continue until President Vladimir Putin's aims are reached.

"The special military operation is underway and will continue until the goals that have been set are achieved," the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said in a conference call with reporters.

Peskov declined to comment on a threat issued by Russia's former prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who warned that Ukraine would face new, grave demands for a total surrender.

Some supporters of Putin have warned that Russia could use nuclear weapons, and Ukraine's top general said last week that the possibility of such a strike remained very real.

"A certain Zelensky said he would not hold dialogue with those giving ultimatums," Medvedev posted on Telegram. "These 'ultimatums' are just a little warm-up for the conditions to be set in the future, He knows them: total capitulation of the Kyiv regime on Russia's conditions."

Asked about those remarks, Peskov said: "I wouldn't comment, but naturally Russia will push for all the goals of the special military operation."

Peskov said that Putin was being kept fully updated on the situation on the battlefield. A lightning Ukrainian counteroffensive in recent days forced Russian troops into a major retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

The Russian Defense Ministry acknowledged the pullback but said it was carried out as part of a decision to "regroup."

"Of course, everything that happens, any actions that the military undertakes during the special military operation are reported to the commander in chief," Peskov said. "The president is in constant, one might say round-the-clock, communication with the defense minister and with all the military commanders. It cannot be otherwise during a special military operation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual news conference in Moscow in December.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual news conference in Moscow in December. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

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