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Putin speech live today: Russian president says West started Ukraine war and hails troops

Putin says Russia is having a ‘complicated time’

President Vladimir Putin has pinned the blame for the war in Ukraine on “western elites”, who he said wanted to “finish” with Russia “forever.”

The Russian leader delivered a speech ahead of the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine.

Addressing members of both houses of the Russian parliament in Moscowhe said: “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.”

Putin went on to blame “Western academies and schools” for “training nationalist battalions” in Ukraine’s Donbas region, which he said inflamed the conflictwhile Moscow was “using force to stop the war.”

He said the West was supporting “traitors” who opposed Russia’s actions, and thanked Russians for their “courage and resolution” in supporting what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Putin’s major address comes just hours after the US president Joe Biden walked the streets of Kyiv.


Putin ‘in a completely different reality’

Vladimir Putin’s speech to Russia’s political and military elite shows he has lost touch with reality, a senior aide to Ukraine’s president said.

“He is in a completely different reality, where there is no opportunity to conduct a dialogue about justice and international law,” political adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters.


Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 10:29


Meloni arrives in Kyiv

During Putin’s address, Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni arrived in Kyiv to meet Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Just hours earlier, she had pledged continued military support for the embattled nation.

Ms Meloni said she was “honoured” to make the visit as she stepped off a train coming from Poland. Ukrainian officials greeted her with a bunch of flowers.

“I am here to understand the needs of a people fighting for their freedom. It’s always different seeing things with your own eyes and I think it helps Italians understand,” Ms Meloni said.

Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 11:09


Russia ‘pulls out arms treaty with US’

Towards the end of his speech, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was suspending its participation in the New START treaty with the United States that limits the two sides’ strategic nuclear arsenals.

“In this regard, I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty,” Putin said.

The New START treaty was signed in Prague in 2010, came into force the following year and was extended in 2021 for five more years just after US president Joe Biden took office.

Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 11:01


Putin concludes his speech

“Russia will respond to any challenges. Because we are all a single country. We are one big united people. We are confident in our power. The truth is on our side,” the Russian president said in the closing remarks to his almost two-hour-long speech.

A fanfare of the Russian national anthem then blared out as members of the audience sang along.


Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 10:54


Russian leader rails against ‘cynical or stupid’ West

Western leaders are either “cynical or stupid” in their approach to Moscow and arms control, Putin said.

He then went on to accuse the US of “step by step…destroy[ing] the system of world security and arms control.”

Putin then said Russia would not make the first nuclear strike.

Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 10:50


US, French and UK nuclear weapons ‘all aimed at Russia’, Putin claims

Putin’s focus has turned back to tensions with the West after a prolonged rundown of Russia’s internal affairs.

The Russian leader claimed that US, French and UK nuclear weapons are all aimed at Russia.

“The latest statements of their leaders confirm this,” he said.

Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 10:46


Watch: Ukraine ‘started the war and we used force to stop it’, Putin says

Ukraine ‘Started The War And We Used Force To Stop It’, Putin Says

Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 10:42


One-and-a-half hours in…

Putin’s speech is now in the territory of health services and improving access to care, especially in rural areas.

He has included Donetsk and Luhansk – Ukrainian regions illegally annexed by Russia in “sham” referenda last year – as being possible beneficiaries of Russia’s new healthcare aims.

Recycling programs and eliminating old landfill sites are also on the agenda.

Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 10:38


The Russian president’s assertion that the West is to blame for the Ukraine war is an “absurdity”, a top US official says.

“Nobody is attacking Russia,” White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan says.

“There’s a kind of absurdity in the notion that Russia was under some form of military threat from Ukraine or anyone else.”

Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 10:33


Applause erupted and parliamentarians leapt to their feet as Putin quoted Tsarist official Pyotr Stolypin.

“In the cause of defending Russia we must all unify and coordinate our efforts, rights, and responsibilities to support Russia’s one historical, higher right – the right to be strong,” he recited, to a rapturous response.

Emily Atkinson21 February 2023 10:26

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