Russian President Vladimir Putin is showing no regrets for the war against neighbour Ukraine, insisting it is going to plan and play down any nuclear standoff with the West, PM News reports.
Putin, in remarks at a conference in Moscow on Thursday, had a familiar litany of grievances against “our Western opponents” and said the West’s dominance over world affairs was coming to an end.
Putin accused the West of inciting the war in Ukraine and of playing a “dangerous, bloody and dirty” game that was sowing chaos across the world. Ultimately, Putin said, the West would have to talk to Russia and other major powers about the future of the world.
“We are standing at a historical frontier: Ahead is probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and, at the same time, important decade since the end of World War Two,” the 70-year-old former KGB spy said at an annual foreign policy conference.
The conflict, which began eight months ago with an invasion by Russian forces of neighbouring Ukraine, has killed thousands, displaced millions, shaken the global economy and reopened Cold War-era divisions.
Meanwhile, Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure were forcing electricity cuts in the capital Kyiv and other places, officials said.
The missile and drone attacks would not break Ukrainian spirits, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a Thursday night video address as he stood outside in the dark next to the wreckage of a downed drone.
“Shelling will not break us – to hear the enemy’s anthem on our land is scarier than the enemy’s rockets in our sky. We are not afraid of the dark,” he said.
Asked at the conference whether there had been any disappointments in the past year, Putin answered simply: “No”, though he also said he always thinks about the Russian lives lost in Ukraine. In response to a question, Putin made no mention of Russia’s battlefield setbacks of recent months.
Asked whether the operation was going according to plan, Putin replied that Russian aims had not changed.
Russia was fighting to protect the people of the Donbas, he said, referring to an eastern industrial region that comprises two of the four Ukrainian provinces he proclaimed annexed last month. Economic sanctions had already had their worst impact and would ultimately make Russia stronger by making its industry more independent, he said.
Fighting has been going on in eastern Ukraine since 2014 between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists.
Liberal Western leaders had undermined “traditional values” around the world, foisting a culture with “dozens of genders, gay parades” on other countries, Putin said.
Putin’s remarks were not very new and did not indicate a change in his strategic goals, including in Ukraine, the White House said.
“At various levels we maintain open channels of communication with the Russians, and we will continue to use them,” White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said of Putin calling for strategic dialogue.
A Ukrainian presidential adviser dismissed Putin’s speech as “for Freud”.
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