MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Moscow will continue its military action in Ukraine until it achieves its goals and scoffed at Western attempts to push Russia into a corner with sanctions.
Putin told an annual economic forum in the far eastern port city of Vladivostok that the main purpose behind sending troops to Ukraine was to protect civilians in that country’s east after eight years of fighting.
“We didn’t start the military action, we’re trying to stop it,” Putin said, reiterating his point that he had sent troops to Ukraine to protect Moscow-backed separatist regions in Ukraine. , who fought the Ukrainian forces. in the conflict that erupted in 2014 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
“All our action has been aimed at helping people living in Donbass, it is our duty and we will fulfill it to the end,” he said.
Putin has accused Russia of bolstering its sovereignty in the face of Western sanctions, which he says border on aggression.
“Russia resisted economic, financial and technological aggression from the West,” Putin said. “I’m sure we haven’t lost anything and won’t lose anything. The most important gain is the strengthening of our sovereignty, it’s an inevitable result of what’s happening.”
The Russian leader said the economic and financial situation in Russia has stabilized, consumer price inflation has slowed and unemployment has remained low.
“There has been some polarization around the world and within the country, but I see that as a positive thing,” he added. “Everything that is useless, harmful, everything that has stopped us from moving forward will be discarded and we will gain the pace of development because development can only be based on sovereignty.”
Putin stressed that Russia will continue to protect its sovereignty in the face of what he described as an attempt by the United States and its allies to preserve their global dominance, saying “the world must not be based on the dictates of a country that considers itself the representative of the almighty or even superior and has based its policies on its perceived exclusivity.
He mocked Western attempts to cap Russian oil and gas prices, calling the idea “stupid” and saying Russia will have enough customers in Asia. “Demand is so high in global markets that we will have no problem selling it,” he said.
“An attempt to limit prices by administrative means is delirium, it is pure nonsense,” Putin added. “It will only lead to higher prices.”
He rejected the EU’s argument that Russia was using energy as a weapon by suspending gas supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany.
Putin reaffirmed the Russian argument that Western sanctions hampered the maintenance of the last turbine still in service, forcing its shutdown.
He reiterated that Moscow was ready to “push the button” and start pumping gas “tomorrow” via Nord Stream 2, which has been put on hold by German authorities.