Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed on Thursday that he believes Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is genuine in his desire to bring the war in Ukraine to an end, although he admitted he is unaware of Trump's specific plans to achieve this if elected. Putin made these remarks during a news conference in Kazakhstan following a regional security conference, in response to a question about Trump's assertions that he could swiftly conclude the conflict in Ukraine if he were to win the presidential election on November 5.

"The fact that Mr. Trump, as a presidential candidate, states that he is prepared and wishes to halt the war in Ukraine, we regard this with full seriousness," Putin stated. "I am, of course, not acquainted with the potential strategies he intends to employ. This is the crucial question. However, I have no doubt about his sincerity in this matter, and we endorse the idea of ending the war."

The Washington Post reported in April that Trump had privately discussed the possibility of allowing Putin to retain Crimea, annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014, and the Donbas region, partially controlled by Russian forces, in exchange for peace, a claim not confirmed by Trump's campaign. Reuters reported last month that two key advisers to Trump presented him with a plan to end the war, which involves conditioning further U.S. weaponry on Ukraine's entry into peace talks.

Putin stated last month that Russia would only end the war if Kyiv agreed to abandon its NATO aspirations and cede control of four provinces claimed by Moscow, demands that Kyiv immediately rejected as equivalent to surrender. Putin also noted that constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington is unfeasible during a heated U.S. presidential election campaign, and that Moscow will await the election outcome to see what the new leadership will do.

Regarding the first televised debate between Trump and President Joe Biden, Putin mentioned that he had watched some parts. He has previously indicated that he finds Biden a more favorable future U.S. president for Russia than Trump, despite Biden's characterization of the Kremlin leader as a "crazy SOB." When asked if his public preference for Biden had shifted after the debate, Putin responded, "Nothing has changed. Did we not know what could come? We knew."

"I saw some fragments," Putin said. "But I have enough to do." Biden, 81, had a faltering performance during the debate, raising concerns about his age and mental acuity, which became a focal point in the campaign. Putin mentioned that he paid little attention to partial media reports about the debate, though he could not ignore it given the United States' status as a great power.