Ukriane news: Putin accuses the West of sustaining war

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the West of igniting and sustaining a war in Ukraine, almost from the Kremlin’s unilateral invasion of its neighbor that has killed tens of thousands of people. A year later, he dismissed any accusations against Moscow.

Putin, in a belated national address, cited Russia and Ukraine as victims of the West’s double-dealing, saying it was Russia, not Ukraine, that was fighting for its very existence.

“We are not at war with the Ukrainian people. Ukraine “has been taken hostage by the Kiev regime and its Western rulers, who have effectively occupied the country.”

The speech repeated a series of complaints that Russia’s leader has frequently offered to justify the widely condemned war and ignored international calls to withdraw from occupied territories in Ukraine.

Observers are expected to seek out signs of how Putin views the stalled conflict and what tone he may set for next year. He has vowed not to relinquish military power in the Ukrainian territories he illegally annexed and has clearly refused to negotiate peace in a conflict that has sparked new Cold War horrors.

Instead, he offered a personal version of recent history, downplaying the Ukrainian government’s claims that it needed Western help to stop the takeover of Russian forces.

In a speech broadcast on all state television channels, Putin said, “Western elites are not trying to hide their goals in order to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on Russia.” We are turning local conflicts into global conflicts.”

“It will be a question of our existence,” he added, adding that Russia is ready to respond.

The constitution requires the president to give a speech every year, but Putin did not give a speech in 2022.

Before the speech, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Russian leader would focus on what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine and Russia’s economic and social problems. Many observers predicted that it would also address Moscow’s influence with the West, and Putin has uttered strong words against these countries.

“They started the war, and we are using force to end it,” Putin said before an audience of parliamentarians, state officials and soldiers who fought in Ukraine. Told.

Putin accused the West of launching an “aggressive information attack” aimed at Russian culture, religion and values.

He also accused Western countries of attacking the Russian economy with sanctions, but declared that they had “achieved nothing and will not achieve anything”.

Putin also said Russia would stop participating in treaties aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. The so-called New START Treaty was signed by Russia and the United States in 2010. This limits the number of long-range nuclear warheads that can be deployed and limits the use of missiles that can carry nuclear weapons.

Putin said in a major speech on Tuesday that Russia had not yet fully withdrawn from the treaty. He said Russia must be prepared to resume nuclear weapons testing if the US does.

Highlighting advance expectations, some state TV channels announced a countdown for the event starting Monday, while Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said Tuesday morning that the speech could be “historic.” Stated.

The Kremlin has banned media from “unfriendly” countries this year, and its list includes the US, UK and EU countries. Peskov said journalists from those countries could watch the broadcast and cover the speeches.

Peskov told reporters the delay in his speech was related to Putin’s “work schedule,” but Russian media reports linked multiple setbacks to the Russian military on the battlefields of Ukraine. Said he was doing

The Russian president has previously postponed his national speech.

Last year, the Kremlin also canceled Putin’s press conference and two other big annual events, a highly planned phone marathon where people ask the president questions.

Analysts had expected Putin’s speech to be tough following US President Joe Biden’s visit to Kiev on Monday. where he will highlight the commitments of the Central European country and other allies to Ukraine over the past year.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Biden’s speech would not be “some kind of head-to-head” with Putin’s.

“This is not a rhetorical contest with someone else,” he said.

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