(Moscow) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday called his military operation in Ukraine a “success”, saying that Moscow would not let the country become a “beachhead” for “aggressive actions” against Russia.
He also compared the avalanche of Western sanctions and condemnations hitting Russia, its economy, its athletes and its world of culture to “anti-Semitic pogroms”, denouncing “odious” and “indecent” behavior of Westerners.
“The operation is taking place successfully, in strict accordance with pre-established plans,” Putin said, according to comments broadcast on television, reaffirming that he had no intention of “occupying” Ukraine. According to him, the offensive was launched because “all diplomatic options” had been “exhausted”.
“We simply had no options to solve the problem peacefully”, continued the Russian leader, who assured that he had “every reason to believe” that “components of biological weapons” were in development on Ukrainian territory.
He also said he could no longer tolerate the “years of intimidation of the population of Donbass”, the Russian-speaking east of Ukraine, where Kyiv has been confronted for eight years with pro-Russian separatists supported by Moscow.
According to Mr. Putin, Ukraine “was preparing for a violent scenario” and the start of a Ukrainian offensive against Donbass and Crimea, territory annexed in 2014 by Moscow, “was only a matter of time”.
“We had no other option to defend ourselves […] we will not allow Ukraine to serve as a beachhead for aggressive actions against Russia,” the president said.
Mr. Putin also considered that the operation in Ukraine “is only an excuse for the West to impose new sanctions” against Russia, denouncing a “conscious and long-term strategy” aimed at “containing and weakening » Moscow.
“Such steps […] have all the characteristics of aggression,” he argued, accusing the West of wanting to make Russia “a weak and dependent country.”