Putin rails against West in state-of-the-nation address - GulfToday

Putin rails against West in state-of-the-nation address


A family watches a TV broadcast of Vladimir Putin's annual state of the nation address in Moscow. AFP

Russian President Vladimir Putin railed against the West in his long-delayed state-of-the-nation address on Tuesday, a speech expected to shed light on how the Kremlin sees its bogged-down war in Ukraine and set the tone for the year ahead.

Putin has frequently justified his invasion of Ukraine by accusing Western countries of threatening Russia. They say nothing could be further from the truth and that Moscow's forces attacked Ukraine unprovoked.

"It’s they who have started the war. And we are using force to end it,” Putin said before an audience of lawmakers, state officials and soldiers who fought in Ukraine.


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While the Constitution mandates that the president deliver the speech annually, Putin never gave one in 2022, as his troops rolled into Ukraine and suffered repeated setbacks. Now the address comes days before the war's first anniversary on Friday.

Before the speech, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian leader would focus on the "special military operation” in Ukraine, as Moscow calls it, and Russia’s economy and social issues. Many observers predicted it would also address Moscow’s fallout with the West - and Putin began with strong words for those countries.

The West is aware that "it is impossible to defeat Russia on the battlefield,” so it launches "aggressive information attacks” against Russia by "misconstruing historical facts,” attacking Russian culture, religion and values, Putin said in the speech broadcast by all Russian state TV channels.

Underscoring the anticipation ahead of time, some state TV channels put out a countdown for the event starting Monday, and Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti on Tuesday morning said the address may be "historic.”

The Kremlin this year has barred media from "unfriendly” countries, the list of which includes the US, the UK and those in the EU. Peskov said journalists from those nations will be able to cover the speech by watching the broadcast.

Associated Press




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