st. St. Petersburg, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia’s actions in Ukraine were intended to stop the “war” that has been raging for years in eastern Ukraine.
In a meeting with veterans, Putin said Moscow had long tried to negotiate a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass, an industrial eastern region where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014. He said he came.
“Since 2014, large-scale combat operations involving heavy weapons, artillery, tanks and aircraft have not been confined to Donbass,” Putin said. “Today, all we do as part of Special Operations Operations is try to stop this war.
Putin reiterated that Russia had tried to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the separatist conflict before sending troops, saying, “We were tricked and deceived.”
He described eastern Ukraine as Russia’s “historic territory”, and although Moscow acknowledged their loss after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, it must act to protect Russian-speaking people there. He added that he had to.
Citing the need to protect Russian-speaking people, as well as pursuing the “demilitarization” and “de-Nazification” of Ukraine to prevent neighboring countries from posing a threat to Russia, Putin said on Feb. He explained his decision to send troops to Ukraine on the 24th. Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected the rationale as a cover for unprovoked acts of aggression.
Putin attended a meeting with veterans during his visit to St. Petersburg to mark the 80th anniversary of the Red Army’s defeat of the Nazi siege on January 18, 1943.
The blockade of the city then called Leningrad lasted nearly 900 days and was only completely lifted in January 1944, making it one of the bloodiest pages of World War II. About a million people died in Leningrad during the siege, mostly from hunger.
On Wednesday, Putin laid a wreath at the city’s Piskarev Memorial Cemetery, where 420,000 civilians and 70,000 Soviet soldiers killed in the siege were buried. He also placed flowers in the section where his brother, who died as a child during the siege, was buried in Donkey’s Tomb.
Putin also visited a defense factory in St. Petersburg, promising workers more social benefits and deferred military service. He said that “the bravery and heroism of the soldiers” and the efforts of the defense industry would ensure Russia’s victory.
Putin, speaking energetically but with frequent clearing of his throat, said Russia produces three times as many air defense missiles as the United States.