New Delhi: President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday (April 12, 2022) addressed the war in public for the first time since Russian forces retreated from northern Ukraine after they were halted at the gates of Kyiv and promised that Russia would achieve all of its “noble” aims in Ukraine.
He also signalled that the war will grind on for longer and stated that peace talks with Ukraine had hit a “dead end”. Putin said that Kyiv had derailed peace talks by staging what he said were fake claims of Russian war crimes and by demanding security guarantees to cover the whole of Ukraine.
“We have again returned to a dead-end situation for us,” Putin, Russia’s paramount leader since 1999, told a news briefing during a visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome, around 5,550 km east of Moscow.
Asked by Russian space agency workers if the operation in Ukraine would achieve its goals, Putin said, “Absolutely. I don`t have any doubt at all.”
Russia will “rhythmically and calmly” continue its operation but the most important strategic conclusion was that the unipolar international order which the United States had built after the Cold War was breaking up, Putin said.
Putin said Russia had no choice but to fight because it had to defend the Russian speakers of eastern Ukraine and prevent its former Soviet neighbour from becoming an anti-Russian springboard for Moscow`s enemies.
He also dismissed the West`s sanctions, which have tipped Russia towards its worst recession since the years following the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, as a failure.
“That Blitzkrieg on which our foes were counting did not work,” Putin said.
BUCHA IS FAKE
Putin dismissed Ukrainian and Western claims that Russia had committed war crimes as fakes. Since Russian troops withdrew from towns and villages around the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Ukrainian troops have been showing journalists corpses of what they say are civilians killed by Russian forces, destroyed houses and burnt-out cars.
Putin said he had told Western leaders to think a little about destruction by the United States of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State caliphate, and in Afghanistan.
“Have you seen how this Syrian city was turned to rubble by American aircraft? Corpses lay in the ruins for months decomposing,” Putin said.
“Nobody cared. No one even noticed,” he added.
“There was no such silence when provocations were staged in Syria, when they portrayed the use of chemical weapons by the Assad government. Then it turned out that it was fake. It`s the same kind of fake in Bucha,” the Russian President said.
Sixty one years to the day since the Soviet Union`s Yuri Gagarin blasted off into the history books by becoming the first man in space, Putin drew an analogy between Soviet space successes and Russia`s defiance today.
“The sanctions were total, the isolation was complete but the Soviet Union was still first in space,” he said.
“We don`t intend to be isolated,” Putin added.
“It is impossible to severely isolate anyone in the modern world – especially such a vast country as Russia,” he stated.
(With agency inputs)