Russia yet to start Ukraine operation 'in earnest,' warns Putin
Russia ready for peace talks, those refusing dialogue should know negotiations will only get harder for them, says Putin
Russia has not yet started its “special operation” in Ukraine “in earnest,” Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Thursday.In a meeting with members of the State Duma in Moscow, Putin struck a defiant tone, daring the West to try to beat Russia on the battlefield.
“They want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try,” he said.
“We have already heard a lot that the West wants to fight with us to the last Ukrainian. This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people but it seems that everything is heading toward this.”
All sides “should know that we, by and large, have not started anything in earnest yet,” he said.
He reiterated that Russia remains ready for peace talks.
“Those refusing dialogue should know negotiations will only get more difficult for them as time passes,” he added.
For years the West has been pursuing an "exclusively aggressive policy" against Russia, said Putin.
Russia's proposals on creating an equal security system and joint work on the problem of anti-ballistic missiles were rejected and the warning about the inadmissibility of NATO's expansion was ignored, said the Russian president.
At the peak of Russia-West relations, the idea of inviting Moscow to the alliance was considered absurd, he said.
"And why is that? Because they do not need such a country as Russia, that is why. Exactly because of this they supported terrorism, separatism in Russia, internal destructive forces and the fifth column in our country -- all of them were getting and continue getting unconditional support from this same collective West," said the president.
Putin rejected accusations of starting the war in Ukraine, stressing that the West organized and supported an armed coup in 2014, which led to current events.
"If this very West wanted to provoke a conflict in order to move to a new stage of the struggle with Russia, to a new stage of containing our country, then we can say that it has succeeded to a certain extent. The war has been unleashed, and sanctions have been imposed. Under normal conditions, it would probably be difficult to do this," he said.
Putin said the sanctions were not just aimed to hit the Russian economy but to also sow discord and confusion in Russia and demoralize people, but nothing worked and will not work.
However, the West lost from the beginning of the war because its start means the beginning of "a cardinal breakdown of the American world order," and this process cannot be stopped, he said.
"This is the beginning of the transition from liberal-globalist American egocentrism to a truly multipolar world, a world based not on egoistic rules invented by someone for themselves, behind which there is nothing but striving for hegemony, not on hypocritical double standards, but on international law, on the true sovereignty of peoples and civilizations, on their will to live our historical destiny, our values and traditions and to build cooperation on the basis of democracy, justice and equality," he said.
Putin said even in countries that are at this stage -- "US satellites" -- an understanding is growing "that the blind obedience of their ruling elites to the suzerain, as a rule, does not correspond to their national interests."
"The West, which once declared such principles as democracy, freedom of speech, pluralism, respect for a different opinion, is now degenerating into the complete opposite -- totalitarianism. It includes censorship, closure of mass media, lawlessness against journalists, public figures," he said.
The practice of bans extends not only to the information space but to all spheres of public life in Western countries. This model -- the model of totalitarian liberalism, including the notorious culture of cancellation and widespread prohibitions -- is being imposed on the whole world, he said.
"But the truth and reality is that the peoples of most countries do not want such a life and such a future, but really strive not for formal, decorative, but for meaningful, real sovereignty and are simply tired of kneeling, humiliating themselves in front of those who consider themselves exceptional, and even to the detriment of themselves to serve their interests," he said. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.