The president also said that Ukraine “has no future” as it is overly reliant on outside support
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of trying to “crush” Russia, saying that these attempts are doomed to fail. He also hailed the country’s arms manufacturers for ramping up production significantly in recent months.
Following a state honors presentation ceremony at the Kremlin on Friday, Putin said that the West has sought to “sideline Russia, to weaken it. And at the end of the day, to crush [it].”
“They will not succeed. Ever,” the Russian head of state insisted.
He went on to cite the admissions of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, who revealed last year that the Minsk agreements, a roadmap for peace in eastern Ukraine that they helped broker between Kiev and Moscow in 2015, had been a ploy to “give Ukraine time” to build up its military. According to Putin, Russia was willing to abide by the protocols and “did not get involved [in Ukraine] at first.”
The Russian president also claimed that Ukraine, unlike Russia, “has no future” because Kiev is entirely dependent on its foreign backers financially and for military supplies.
Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with AFP published on Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed out that the Kremlin’s goals for the “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine remain unchanged.
When asked about the prospects of a peace agreement between the two neighboring nations, Zakharova said that “it is necessary to confirm the neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free status of Ukraine” as well as to “acknowledge new territorial realities, and ensure the rights of Russian-speaking citizens and national minorities living in this country.”
The spokeswoman also stressed that Moscow has never ruled out the possibility of a diplomatic settlement, adding that it’s now up to Ukraine and its Western backers to move the process along.
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