In a hawkish speech, Putin vowed to “systematically” continue the Ukraine offensive, which started on February 24 last year and triggered the biggest confrontation with the West since the depths of the Cold War.
Here are the key points from Putin’s address:
- I am making this address at a time which we all know is a difficult, watershed moment for our country, a time of cardinal, irreversible changes around the world, the most important historic events that will shape the future of our country and our people, when each of us bears a colossal responsibility.
- One year ago, for the safety of our country and citizens, we started carrying out the necessary actions. We saw threats were increasing, bloody operation in Donbas had been prepared … They started the war.
- Step by step, carefully and consistently, we will resolve the tasks facing us.
- Our fighters are fighting for the future, for restoration of historical justice. Our duty is to support families which lost loved ones. I propose to set up special state fund to support veterans and fallen soldiers.
- Kyiv was trying to gather biological and nuclear weapons.
- Since 2014, the (people of the) Donbas had been fighting, defending their right to live on their own land, to speak their native language. They fought and did not give up in the conditions of blockade and constant shelling, undisguised hatred on the part of the Kyiv regime. They believed and expected that Russia would come to their rescue. Meanwhile, we did our best to solve this problem by peaceful means. We patiently tried to negotiate a peaceful way out of this most difficult conflict, but a completely different scenario was being prepared behind our backs.
- I want to repeat: It is them who are culpable for the war, and we are using force to stop it.
- In 1930s, West practically paved the way to power for Nazis in Germany, and now they turned Ukraine into ‘anti-Russia’.
- The aim of the West is to direct aggression eastwards and eliminate competition. Purpose behind West’s anti-Russia policy is to start war in Europe and eliminate competitors. The West wants to grow a local conflict into a global one.
- The West has already spent $150 billion on military assistance to Ukraine, and the flow of money is not stopping.
- Russia’s existence is at stake. West is fighting us on economic front, it won’t succeed. West provoked price increases, loss of jobs. West has stolen our gold and forex reserves. Anti-Russia sanctions are just means, while West’s goal is to make Russian people suffer.
- Russian economy has proven far more strong than they thought in the West.
- The West distort historical facts, constantly attack our culture, the Russian Orthodox Church, and other traditional religions of our country.
- Look at what the West do with their own peoples: The destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion, and the abuse of children are declared the norm. And priests are forced to bless same-sex marriages.
- The Anglican Church plans to consider the idea of a gender-neutral God… Millions of people in the West understand they are being led to a real spiritual catastrophe.
- It is obvious that the West will try to undermine and split our society, rely on national traitors, who at all times have the same poison – contempt for their fatherland and a desire to make money by selling this poison to those who are ready to pay for it.
- Next steps to strengthen army and navy should take into account experience of special military operation. We have to reach high level for all the military components.
- I have already said many times that the people of Ukraine have become the hostage of the Kyiv regime and its Western overlords, who have effectively occupied this country in the political, military and economic sense.
- I want to emphasise that no country in the world has as many military bases abroad as the United States. There are hundreds of them around the world.
- The whole world has seen the US withdraw from fundamental armaments agreements, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. They unilaterally tore apart the fundamental agreements that maintain world peace. Why did they do this? Just because they could
- We have already begun and will continue to build up a large-scale programme for the socio-economic recovery and development of these new subjects of the Federation (territory annexed from Ukraine). We are talking about reviving enterprises and jobs in the ports of the Sea of Azov, which has again become an inland sea of Russia, and building new modern roads, as we did in Crimea.