Putin blames West of provoking Ukraine war

Published February 21st, 2023 - 11:18 GMT
An Albawaba drawing of Russian President Vladimir Putin produced by Multimedia Editor Rami Khoury.
An Albawaba drawing of Russian President Vladimir Putin produced by Multimedia Editor Rami Khoury.

ALBAWABA - Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at Western nations Tuesday, accusing them of provoking the war in Ukraine and supporting its continuation.

In a long-delayed state-of-the-nation address three days before the first anniversary of his war on neighboring Ukraine, Putin deflected blame off Moscow, and Ukraine, insisting that both were victims of Western double-standards.

His wide ranging speech came shortly before Russia launched intensive strikes on Ukrainian cities. It also coincided with a press conference for U.S. President Joe Biden during a visit to Poland.

"We aren’t fighting the Ukrainian people," Putin said to a background of applause by the audience, which included members of parliament, government officials and servicemen who fought in Ukraine.

He said Ukraine "has become hostage of the Kyiv regime and its Western masters, which have effectively occupied the country."

Putin announced that Russia will suspend its observation of the New START nuclear weapons treaty with the U.S., Moscow's last remaining nuclear treaty with Washington.

The speech reiterated a host of grievances that Putin often referred to as reasons for his war, condemned by many nations, which accuse the Russian leader of committing war crimes in Ukraine.

Throughout the speech, Putin was critical of the West, blaming it for the war, which he calls a "special military operation."

"It’s they who have started the war," he said. "And we are using force to end it."

Putin claimed the West of launching "aggressive information attacks" and taking aim at Russian culture, religion and values because it is aware that "it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield."

He also accused Western nations of waging an attack on Russia’s economy with sanctions slapped on his country. He insisted, however, the embargo failed to achieve "anything and will not achieve anything."

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