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Putin claims Russia is not to blame for its war in Ukraine

Thursday, December 22nd, 2022 10:30 | By
Putin claims Russia is not to blame for its war in Ukraine
Russian President Vladmir Putin. Photo/PD/File

Vladimir Putin believes Russia is not to blame for the war in Ukraine, adding both countries are “sharing a tragedy”.

During a televised address with senior military officials, the Russian president said he continued to see Ukraine as a “brotherly nation”.

He claimed the conflict was “the result of the policy of third countries” and not down to Russian policy.

The theory, which implies Western expansion is the cause, has been repeatedly dismissed outside Russia.

President Putin claimed the West had “brainwashed” post-Soviet republics, starting with Ukraine.

He said: “For years, we tried to build good-neighbourly relations with Ukraine, offering loans and cheap energy, but it did not work.

“There’s nothing to accuse us of. We’ve always seen Ukrainians as a brotherly people and I still think so.

“What’s happening now is a tragedy, but it’s not our fault.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is on his way to Washington, where he will meet US President Joe Biden.

It is his first foreign trip since Russia invaded in February.

Details of his travel are unlikely to be made public, given the security risks involved, but he was seen earlier at a Polish train station. The US has confirmed it will supply Ukraine with a Patriot missile system, significantly increasing the country’s air defence capability.

“On my way to the US to strengthen resilience and defense capabilities of Ukraine,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. He also said he would give a speech to Congress and hold a number of meetings.

The visit was, unsurprisingly, kept as a secret, with official confirmation coming only hours before it was due to start.

The US has been Ukraine’s most important ally in the war, committing $50bn (£41bn) of humanitarian, financial and security assistance - far more than any other country.

Zelensky has held regular phone calls with Western leaders since the start of the war. But by hosting him at the White House, President Biden will signal that Washington is committed to supporting the country for “as long as it takes”, as has been repeatedly saying.

In a speech to defence chiefs on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was fighting against Nato forces in Ukraine.

“It’s well known that the military potential and capabilities of almost all Nato’s main countries are being actively used against Russia.”

In its briefing ahead of Zelensky’s visit, the White House confirmed a new package of nearly $2bn of security assistance for Ukraine. That includes a new Patriot missile system - a sophisticated air defence system that will help Ukraine to protect its cities from missiles and drones that Russia has fired at critical facilities.                    

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