Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday marked the anniversary of the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions with a defiant speech in which he vowed to continue fighting until Russia achieves its goals in Ukraine.
“We will never give up what is ours,” Putin said in a speech to the Kremlin. “We will never give up our people.”
Putin’s speech comes as the war in Ukraine enters its eighth month. Russia has made gains in the east of the country in recent weeks, but Ukrainian forces have mounted a fierce resistance and have inflicted heavy casualties on the Russian military.
In his speech, Putin accused the West of trying to destroy Russia and of using Ukraine as a proxy to wage war against Moscow. He also claimed that the people of the four annexed regions had freely chosen to become part of Russia.
However, these claims have been widely disputed by the international community and by many Russians. The referendums that were held in the annexed regions were widely seen as shams, and there is no evidence that the people of these regions want to be part of Russia.
Putin’s speech also comes as Russia faces increasing economic pressure from the West. The European Union has imposed a number of sanctions on Russia, and the United States has provided Ukraine with billions of dollars in military assistance.
These sanctions and assistance have had a significant impact on the Russian economy. The ruble has lost half of its value against the US dollar since the start of the war, and inflation in Russia is soaring.
Despite the economic pressure and the military setbacks in Ukraine, Putin has shown no signs of backing down. His speech on Saturday suggests that he is prepared to continue the war for as long as it takes to achieve his goals in Ukraine.
Putin’s speech on Saturday is a significant event for a number of reasons. First, it shows that Putin is still committed to his goals in Ukraine, even as the war drags on and Russia faces increasing economic pressure. Second, it highlights the deep divisions that exist between Russia and the West. Third, it raises the risk of a wider conflict between Russia and NATO.
Putin’s claim that Russia is fighting a war of survival against the West is a dangerous escalation of the conflict. It suggests that Putin is prepared to use any means necessary to achieve his goals in Ukraine, even if that means risking a wider war with NATO.
The international community must continue to stand united in its support for Ukraine and in its opposition to Russian aggression. If Putin is not stopped in Ukraine, he will likely continue his expansionist ambitions and pose a threat to global security.
Putin’s speech on Saturday is a reminder that the war in Ukraine is far from over. Putin is still committed to his goals in Ukraine, and he is prepared to continue the war for as long as it takes to achieve them. The international community must continue to stand united in its support for Ukraine and in its opposition to Russian aggression.
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