Ukraine war: Putin: Western “lightning war” against Russia’s economy failed
Vostochny Russian President Vladimir Putin remains confident of victory. At a joint press conference with Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko in eastern Russia on Tuesday, he declared an alleged Western “economic war” against his country to have failed. “Obviously, this blitzkrieg that our benefactors bet on failed, that’s obvious,” he said. Russia’s economy and financial system are “steady on both feet”.
At the same time, the head of the Kremlin also acknowledged problems caused by the Western sanctions imposed because of Russia’s war in Ukraine – for example in logistics and with billing. “Of course there are problems,” Putin said. The goods, including fertilizer, would still find their way to the customer. “The economy is fairly stable,” Putin said.
Russia is also prepared for possibly further increasing risks. However, the difficulties were overcome and made Russia stronger in the end. “We will continue to oppose any attempt to slow down the development of our countries and artificially isolate them from the world economy.”
Russia will not be isolated or held back by the West, Putin stressed. As proof that Russia could make spectacular leaps forward even under difficult conditions, he referred to the Soviet space program – 61 years to the day after Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space. “The sanctions were total, the isolation was total. But the Soviet Union was still the first in space,” Putin pointed out, according to state television.
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“We don’t want to be isolated,” Putin said, referring to sanctions over Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. “It is impossible to seriously isolate anyone in the modern world – especially a huge country like Russia.” Putin reiterated that there is no doubt that Russia will achieve its goals in Ukraine.
“Russia’s goals are absolutely clear and noble,” he said. “It is clear that we had no choice. It was the right decision.” The Russian leadership describes the war of aggression against Ukraine that began on February 24 as a special military operation. Allegedly one wants to contribute to the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine and to the protection of Russia. These pretexts apparently serve primarily to justify the war internally. They are considered fictitious.
The successes in Soviet space travel in the middle of the Cold War still have a special meaning in Russia today. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first satellite, Sputnik 1. In 1961, cosmonaut Gagarin made the first manned space flight and orbited the earth. Both events came as a shock to the United States. The successful launch of Sputnik prompted the United States to found the space agency Nasa.
At the press conference, Putin again described allegations of Russian war crimes in the Ukrainian city of Bucha as “provocation” and “fake”. In the past, the US had used suspected chemical weapons in Iraq as a pretext for invading the country. “There is just such a fake in Butscha,” he said.
“Many say that the United States is ready to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian. And that’s how it is,” Putin said. He has long accused the United States of using Ukraine and the ever new sanctions as a means of exerting pressure on Russia.
>>Read here: How investigators solve possible war crimes in Bucha
Ukraine has accused Russian troops of massacring civilians in Bucha, a suburb of the capital Kyiv, shooting hundreds of people, some handcuffed, dead. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other Western politicians as well as numerous experts and journalists have visited Butscha and seen the bodies there themselves. Nevertheless, Russia spoke of a staging.
Putin has now announced that Lukashenko has brought him documents intended to prove the provocation in Bucha. He handed them over to the Russian domestic secret service FSB. Lukashenko said: “Today we discussed the special psychological operation in Bucha that the British carried out. If they want the addresses, the identifiers, the meeting points, how they travelled, then the FSB of the Russian Federation can provide them with that information,” Lukashenko claimed.
However, the FSB never answers such inquiries as a matter of principle. In other incidents in the past where Lukashenko asked for documents to be handed over to the FSB, the public has not heard of the allegations.
According to the state news agency RIA, Putin sees talks with Ukraine in a dead end. Ukraine has deviated from the agreements reached at the Istanbul peace talks, the Kremlin chief claimed.
On the occasion of Space Day, Putin and Lukashenko visited the planned “Vostochny” spaceport and later spoke privately. The authoritarian former Soviet republic of Belarus is considered a close ally of Russia. In the past few weeks, Russian troops had also attacked Ukraine from Belarusian territory. In response to the war of aggression that has been ongoing since February 24, European states and the United States have imposed unprecedented sanctions on Moscow.
More: Read all current developments in the Ukraine war in the live blog