Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday vowed to “systematically” press on with Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine and “step by step” overcome their challenges.
He blamed the West for starting the conflict in Ukraine, saying Western countries, led by the US, were seeking “unlimited power” in world affairs.
“The responsibility for fueling the Ukrainian conflict, for its escalation, for the number of victims… lies completely with Western elites,” Putin said.
Moscow “did everything possible, genuinely everything possible, in order to solve this problem [in Ukraine] by peaceful means,” he said. “But a completely different scenario was being prepared behind our backs.”
Putin criticized Western attempts toward peace and claimed that Moscow had proposed peace plans to NATO and they were not received well.
In his annual state of the nation address – which comes just days before the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine – Putin stated
“I am speaking to you at a difficult and key moment for our country, at a time of profound changes everywhere in the world,” he said.
Putin reiterated the Kremlin’s lines on launching what Moscow describes as a “special military operation” in Ukraine, saying that Russia was fighting to “liberate” people in Ukraine, whom he said were “hostages of their [own] regime.”