Putin claims US wants to ‘extend’ war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin seen during the plenary session at the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum SPIEF 2022, on June 17, 2022 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the US and the wider West, claiming on Tuesday that America wants to delay the war in Ukraine.

“The situation in Ukraine shows that the US is trying to prolong this conflict,” he said during a welcoming speech at a Moscow conference on international security, Russia’s state news agency Interfax reported.

Putin also claimed that the US was trying to maintain its hegemonic status in the world and that the West wanted to expand its “block system” of defense, such as NATO’s military alliance, to Asia.

“We also see that the collective West is trying to expand its bloc system into the Asia-Pacific region, in the same way that NATO is in Europe. For this purpose, warlike military-political alliances like AUKUS and the others are being formed,” Putin claimed. . , referring to the trilateral security pact between Australia, the UK and the US signed last year.

In addition, he said the recent visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, which infuriated Russian ally China, was a “thoroughly planned provocation”, and said such a “reckless” trip “was part of a purposeful, conscious strategy of the United States”. to destabilize and bring chaos to the situation in the region and the world” and “a brutal demonstration of disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries and for its international obligations.”

Putin again defended the unprovoked Moscow invasion of Moscow, claiming it was carried out “to ensure the security of Russia and our citizens”.

Russia claims its attack on Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation,” is aimed at “liberating” pro-Russian breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas that it has supported since 2014.

Russia’s latest large-scale invasion of Ukraine has resulted in widespread destruction, deaths and displacement of the country’s civilian population. The United Nations said on Monday that at least 5,500 civilians were killed in the fighting, although the actual number is likely to be much higher, given the chaotic nature of recording such data in times of war.

Russia’s invasion has also led to international condemnations and massive economic sanctions against the country’s key sectors, companies and individuals associated with the Kremlin.

The Russian leader’s obsession with Ukraine has been long-standing and he has repeatedly praised the unity of Russians and Ukrainians, while deploring the country’s pro-Western government under President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Political analysts have told CNBC that Putin’s claims against the Ukrainian government are nonsense, reflecting an irrational and thoughtless attitude towards the Kiev leadership and its direction. Western officials and close followers of Russia also see Putin’s comments and his version (and often revisionist view) of history as an attempt to create false and misleading narratives.

The US and its European allies in NATO have tried to help Ukraine defend its territorial sovereignty with arms, financial and humanitarian aid, saying that Russia must not succeed in its territorial hold on Ukraine.

However, Russia has said the West’s aid to Ukraine is the culmination of years of anti-Russian sentiment, and has blamed NATO for starting the war.

Europe’s security system

The lead-up to war in Ukraine began in late 2021 when Russia gathered more than 100,000 troops on the border with its smaller neighbor while insisting it had no plans to invade.

In December 2021, Russia demanded guarantees from NATO that Ukraine would not be allowed to join the military alliance in the future (despite no concrete plans for it) and demanded that NATO roll back its military presence in Eastern Europe. It also sought assurances that the military alliance would not expand further to the Russian border, even though there was no prospect of expansion at the time.

NATO officials said there was room for negotiation but rejected Russia’s main demands and on February 24 Russia launched a large-scale invasion, widely believed capable of a swift victory in Ukraine and the overthrow of its pro- western government.

Nearly six months later and the war shows no signs of ending anytime soon, with the Ukrainian Armed Forces backed up with heavy weapons from the West – specifically US-donated HIMARS or High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems making a tangible difference in the direction of war.

The invasion has had other dramatic, unintended consequences for Moscow, with NATO uniting more strongly than ever. European laggards in defense spending, such as Germany, have also pledged to increase such purchases in direct response to Russia’s aggression.

In addition, the traditionally non-aligned countries of Sweden and Finland have now applied to join NATO, roughly doubling the land border that Russia shares with NATO countries. Unsurprisingly, Moscow has condemned the expansion and threatened reprisals without saying openly what form it might take.

Despite the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has blamed the West for changing the European security architecture and on Tuesday Putin said in his speech that “the so-called collective West is deliberately destroying the system of European security and forging new military alliances.”

“The NATO bloc is moving east and building its military infrastructure, including deploying missile defense systems and increasing the offensive capabilities of offensive forces,” he said.

“In words, this is hypocritically stated as a necessity to strengthen security in Europe, but in reality the exact opposite is happening,” he said. “The proposals Russia made last December on mutual security measures were simply ignored again,” he added.

Timothy Ash, a senior sovereign strategist for emerging markets at BlueBay Asset Management, dismissed Putin’s comments by email on Tuesday, saying that Russia attempted several times to destabilize Europe’s security system, from sponsoring unrest in former Soviet republics such as Georgia and Moldova to its intervention in the Syrian civil war and the use of biological weapons against critics of the Kremlin.

“Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war with the precise intention of creating a refugee wave to Europe to destabilize the continent. Putin supports far-left and far-right parties in Europe. Russia is now restricting energy supplies to Europe to avoid energy shortages and social and political unrest But the West is purposely undermining European security,” Ash said.

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