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Putin says Russia, Ukraine are victims of Western double-dealing



Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has justified his country’s invasion of Ukraine while he accused Western countries of igniting and sustaining the war.

Putin in a state-of-the-nation address on Tuesday, described Russia and Ukraine as victims of Western double-dealing and said Russia, not Ukraine, was the one fighting for its very existence.

The Russian leader dismissed any blame for Moscow almost a year after the Kremlin’s invasion of its neighbor in a war that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions of others.

“We aren’t fighting the Ukrainian people,” Putin said in the speech, coming a day before the war’s first anniversary on Friday.

“Ukraine has become hostage of the Kyiv regime and its Western masters, which have effectively occupied the country,” he said.

Read also:UK freezes £18bn worth of assets owned by Putin, Abramovich, other Russians

While he vowed no military let-up in Ukrainian territories his country has annexed, Putin said he rejects any peace overtures in a conflict that has reawakened fears of a new Cold War.

Instead, he offered his personalized version of events which discounted arguments by the Ukrainian government that it needed Western help to thwart a Russian military takeover.

“Western elites aren’t trying to conceal their goals, to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ to Russia.

“They intend to transform the local conflict into a global confrontation,” Putin said in the speech broadcast by all Russian state TV channels.

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