Russia’s Putin accuses the West and Ukraine of frightening battle

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening of new health facilities at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow February 15, 2023 via video link.

Mikhail Metzel | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin used a well-received speech on Tuesday to deny responsibility for the war in Ukraine and to respond to his opponents.

Putin claimed Russia was trying to allow citizens in the contested Donbass region to speak their “own language” and trying to resolve the conflict peacefully.

He also cited the expansion of NATO and new European missile defense systems as a provocation by Russia.

“We had no doubt that by February 2022 everything was ready for a punitive action in Donbass, where [the] The Kiev regime provided artillery, aviation and other weapons to attack Donbass in 2014. In 2015, they again tried to attack Donbass directly, they continued shelling, terror,” he said.

“All of this was totally against the documents accepted by the United Nations Security Council. I want to repeat it: you started the war. And we used violence to stop him.”

The speech on the state of the nation will be transmitted to members of parliament and the military in Moscow and will be broadcast on state television. It is an important opportunity to gain insight into his latest thoughts on the Ukraine war.

February 24 marks a year since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, starting a ground war in Europe that Putin still calls a “special military operation.” Intense fighting continues in the war-torn nation.

US President Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Monday, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Biden said the trip was intended to “reaffirm our unwavering and unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty and territorial integrity.” He also promised to supply more artillery ammunition and anti-tank systems, and to announce new sanctions against Russian companies and their elites.

Biden is scheduled to deliver another speech in Poland, clearly following Putin’s. He also meets with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

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