The Russia Ukraine war, or rather the Russian forces’ invasion of Ukraine, started on 24 February 2022. The world expected it to last no more than a few weeks during which it would achieve its strategic objectives of securing the Russian borders against American European infringements and expanding NATO influence. However, the events exposed the ugly face of the party that planned this war and egged it on; that being the US and its allies in the European Union. They did not hide their intention to lure Russia into a long-term military conflict that would deplete it militarily and economically, and would prevent it—together with China—from competing with the US in being the sole global superpower.
This is the gruesome scenario the world has been witnessing over an entire year, and which is still raging without an end in sight, nor hope for the parties involved to sit to the negotiation table to end the conflict. The arrogant American political statements that plunged Ukraine into a devastating and deadly war by proxy are still being echoed to the effect that Russia must lose the war, and must in no way get out victorious. On the other hand, Russia insists it will never lose the war even if it takes resorting to nuclear weapon that would destroy all parties. In light of this horrific situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin talked to the Russian people on 21 February; his speech addressed two main aspects. The first involved an evaluation of the battles of the past year from political, military and economic perspectives; and a future vision. Second, President Putin gave an account of the conditions of the Russian home front, in addition to the sectors that Russia seized from Ukraine and whose residents voted to join Russia. President Putin addressed the issue from economic, development and investment perspectives, in order to reassure the Russian people and the people of those regions of the stability of the situation and to introduce prospective plans for development.
I will overlook the second aspect of the Russian President’s speech since it concerns the Russian people and is directly related to their local front and future, and will here present excerpts from President Putin’s speech in what concerns the first aspect:
“This Presidential Address comes at a difficult, watershed period for our country. This is a time of radical, irreversible change in the entire world, of crucial historical events that will determine the future of our country and our people, a time when every one of us bears a colossal responsibility. One year ago, to protect the people in our historical lands, to ensure the security of our country and to eliminate the threat coming from the neo-Nazi regime that had taken hold in Ukraine after the 2014 coup, it was decided to begin the special military operation. Since 2014, Donbass has been fighting for the right to live in their land and to speak their native tongue. It fought and never gave up amid the blockade, constant shelling and the Kiev regime’s overt hatred… In the meantime, we were doing everything in our power to solve this problem by peaceful means. Behind our backs, a very different plan was being hatched. As we can see now, the promises of Western leaders, their assurances that they were striving for peace in Donbass turned out to be a sham and outright lies…They increasingly incited the Ukrainian neo-Nazis to stage terrorist attacks in Donbass. The officers of nationalist battalions trained at Western academies and schools. Weapons were also supplied.
“We firmly defend our interests as well as our belief that in today’s world there should be no division into so-called civilised countries and all the rest… We were open and sincerely ready for a constructive dialogue with the West; we said and insisted that both Europe and the whole world needed an indivisible security system equal for all countries. But in response, we received either an indistinct or hypocritical reaction. But there were also actions: NATO’s expansion to our borders.
“Finally, in December 2021, we officially submitted draft agreements on security guarantees to the USA and NATO. In essence, all key, fundamental points were rejected. After that it finally became clear that the go-ahead for the implementation of aggressive plans had been given and they were not going to stop. We understood that everything would be in place by February 2022 for launching yet another bloody punitive operation in Donbass.
“We are defending human lives and our common home, while the West seeks unlimited power. It has already spent over USD150 billion on helping and arming the Kyiv regime. To give you an idea, the G7 countries earmarked about USD60 billion in 2020–2021 to help the world’s poorest countries. What about all this talk of fighting poverty, sustainable development and protection of the environment? Meanwhile, they eagerly invest in sowing unrest and encouraging government coups in other countries around the world.
“We are not at war with the people of Ukraine. The people of Ukraine have become hostages of the Kyiv regime and its Western handlers, who have in fact occupied that country in the political, military and economic sense and have been destroying Ukrainian industry for decades now as they plundered its natural resources. This led to social degradation and an immeasurable increase in poverty and inequality… Nobody was thinking about people, who were conditioned for slaughter and eventually became expendables… The current Ukrainian regime is serving not national interests, but the interests of third countries.
“The Western elite make no secret of their goal, which is, ‘Russia’s strategic defeat.’ This means they plan to grow a local conflict into a global confrontation. This is how we understand it and we will respond accordingly, because this represents an existential threat to our country.
“My special words go to the residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. You, my friends, determined your future at the referendums and made a clear choice despite the threats and violence, amid the close military actions. But there has been nothing stronger than your intent to be with Russia, with your Motherland.
“In early February, the North Atlantic Alliance made a statement with actual demand to Russia, to return to the implementation of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, including admission of inspections to our nuclear defence facilities. It is a kind of a theatre of the absurd. I would like to draw your attention specifically to the fact that they are not letting us conduct full-scale inspections under this treaty. A week ago, I signed an executive order putting new land-based strategic systems on combat duty.
“They can also continue to rob everyone under the guise of democracy and freedoms… After the Soviet Union broke up, they began to revise the outcomes of World War II and to build an American-style world ruled by one master. To do this, they began to rudely destroy the foundations of the international order laid down after WWII in order to cross out the legacy of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences. The United States trying to refashion the international order to suit exclusively its own needs and selfish interests is unacceptable.
“In this regard, I am compelled to announce today that Russia is suspending its membership in the New START Treaty. Before we come back to discussing this issue, we must have a clear idea of what NATO countries such as France or Great Britain have at stake, and how we will account for their strategic arsenals… Just try not to lie to everyone this time and present yourselves as champions of peace and detente. We know the truth… Russia will meet any challenges because we are all one country, a big and united nation. We are confident in ourselves and confident in our strength. The truth is on our side.”
17 March 2023
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