Putin slams U.S., claims it wants to drag out war in Ukraine and provoke China

Russian President Vladimir Putin appears at the plenary session of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum SPIEF 2022 on June 17, 2022 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin lashed out at the United States and the West on Tuesday, claiming the United States wants out of the war in Ukraine.

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

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

“We see that the collective is trying to expand its bloc system in the Asia-Pacific region, similar to NATO in Western Europe. For this purpose, military-political alliances like AUKUS and others are being created,” claimed Putin. , referring to the Tripartite Security Treaty between Australia, the UK and the US signed last year.

In addition, he said US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, which angered Russia’s ally China, was a “completely planned provocation”, adding that such a “reckless” visit was “part of a deliberate, deliberate strategy by the United States.” destabilizing and confusing the situation in the world” and a “brazen display of disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries and their international obligations.”

Putin once again defended Moscow’s indirect aggression against Ukraine, claiming it was being carried out “for the safety of Russia and our citizens”.

Russia has claimed the offensive in Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation”, is aimed at “liberating” the pro-Russian, breakaway region of Donbas in eastern Ukraine that it has supported since 2014.

Russia’s latest, full-scale invasion of Ukraine has caused widespread destruction, death and displacement among the country’s civilian population. The United Nations said on Monday that at least 5,500 civilians had been killed Although the true number in combat is likely to be higher, given the messy nature of recording such data during wartime.

Russia’s invasion has drawn international condemnation and widespread economic sanctions on key sectors of the country, companies and individuals linked to the Kremlin.

The Russian leader’s obsession with Ukraine is long-standing and he has repeatedly praised the unity of Russians and Ukrainians, while condemning the country’s pro-Western government led by President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Political analysts have told CNBC of Putin’s claims It is absurd to point in the direction of the Ukrainian government, which shows an irrational and wrong attitude towards the leadership in Kiev and its direction. Western officials and close followers of Russia also see Putin’s comments and his version of history (and often revisionist views) as an attempt to create a false and misleading narrative.

The US and its European allies have sought to help Ukraine defend its territorial sovereignty in the form of weapons, economic and humanitarian aid, saying that Russia should not be allowed to succeed in usurping Ukrainian territory.

Russia has said Western 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 war in Ukraine began in late 2021 and Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on its tiny neighbor’s border, but insists it has no plans to invade.

Russia sought assurances from NATO in December 2021 that Ukraine would not be allowed to join the military alliance in the future (despite having no concrete plans to do so) and demanded that NATO withdraw its military presence in Eastern Europe. While there was no prospect of expansion at the time, it also sought guarantees that the military alliance would not expand again towards Russia’s borders.

NATO officials said there was room for negotiation but rejected Russia’s main demands, and on February 24 Russia launched a full-scale offensive, which was believed to be capable of a quick victory in Ukraine and the overthrow of its Western-backed government.

Nearly six months on and the war shows no signs of ending soon, Ukraine’s military is making a tangible difference to the war with the West’s heavy weaponry — particularly US-donated HIMARS, or High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems. .

The invasion has had other dramatic, unintended consequences for Moscow, and NATO is more strongly united than ever. Even European defense-spending laggards such as Germany have pledged to increase such purchases in direct response to Russian aggression.

What’s more, traditionally non-aligned countries Sweden and Finland have now applied to join NATO, doubling Russia’s land borders with NATO countries. Surprisingly, Moscow has condemned the expansion and threatened retaliation, without specifying what form it might take.

Despite the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has blamed the West for changing Europe’s security architecture, and Putin said in a speech on Tuesday that “the so-called collective West is purposefully destroying the European security system by assembling a new military alliance.”

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

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

Timothy Ash, senior emerging markets sovereign strategist at BlueBay Asset Management, refuted Putin’s comments in emailed comments on Tuesday, saying there are many examples of him trying to destabilize the European security system, from fomenting unrest in former Soviet republics such as Georgia and Moldova. Its intervention in the Syrian civil war and its use of biological weapons against critics of the Kremlin.

“Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war with the precise intention of creating a wave of refugees in Europe to destabilize the continent. Putin has supported leftist and far-right parties in Europe. Russia has now blocked energy supplies to Europe to create energy shortages and social and political unrest. But this is deliberately done by the West.” undermining European security,” Ash said.

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