Vladimir Putin addressed Russia in a major speech a few days before the anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
It comes as fears surface that Moscow will launch a major new offensive to break the bloody blockade with Kiev.
Putin turned to his political and military cronies when he offered them an update on his so-called “military special operation.”
The blinded dictator, 70, has been addressing both chambers of parliament for almost a year since he began his war of aggression.
In a characteristically lengthy and rambling speech, Vlad vowed that Russia would “defend our interests” in a veiled threat as it widens the rift with the West.
Vlad said he would “systematically” continue his war in Ukraine – and accused the West of trying to start a “war against Russia”.
Putin again tried to blame Ukraine for the war – and accused the West of working “behind our backs” to undermine Russia.
He relied on tired old rhetoric about “Nazis.”
And he complained that the West was “spitting on the whole world” when trying to justify the violence in Ukraine.
As he spoke, there were reports of fighter jets and bombers being deployed to bases near the border and heavy shelling being fired across Ukraine.
“We defend human lives, but the West’s goals are limitless power,” Putin groaned.
Vlad continued: “We did everything possible, really everything possible, to solve this problem (in Ukraine) by peaceful means.
“We were patient, we negotiated a peaceful way out of this difficult conflict, but a completely different scenario was being prepared behind our backs.”
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden, fresh from his visit to Kiev, is set to deliver a pro-Ukraine speech tonight at the Royal Castle of Poland.
The last time Biden spoke there he said, “For God’s sake, [Putin] cannot remain in power.”
The highly symbolic dueling speeches come at a time of unprecedented tension.
Vlad’s gambling has put the world on the sharpest edge since the Cold War.
It comes as:
- Joe Biden paid a surprise visit to Kiev to meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy
- The world is counting down to the anniversary of the war on February 24th
- It is feared that Russia will gather 500,000 troops for a new attack on Ukraine
- Zelenskyy warned China that arming Russia could trigger World War III
- Ukraine says Russia has put its nuclear forces on combat readiness
- It is estimated that more than 144,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine
- Ukrainian defense chief Oleksiy Danilov announced the war would end with tanks in Red Square
- Leaked documents reveal Putin’s own spies believe he is a ‘harassing narcissistic liar’
- The Sun Online visited Europe’s border with Russia – a place where spies are everywhere
Russia is estimated to have lost nearly 150,000 troops in Ukraine when they were crushed against a heroic Ukrainian resistance led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Putin’s future is now seen as tied to his success or failure.
Moscow still controls a fifth of Ukraine but has dashed heavy battlefield defeats and hopes of a quick victory.
Desperate to win to save himself, Vlad sees the war as part of a larger conflict with the West.
Britain, the US and other Western nations are supporting Ukraine with arms and supplies.
Vlad’s speech comes just a day after US President Joe Biden made an unprecedented secret visit to Kiev.
Biden doubled his support for Ukraine in one of Washington’s biggest endorsements to date.
Putin is said to have tried to get China on his side and give them weapons.
It’s a move that could reset the battle lines between East and West.
And it’s a Ukrainian leader Zelensky warned about that could trigger WWIII.
“China is deeply concerned about the continued escalation of the conflict and the possibility that the situation could spiral out of control,” Chinese Minister Qin Gang said.
There are fears that Russia could be preparing a major new offensive – with reports of up to 500,000 troops massing for an attack on Ukraine.
Ukrainian intelligence also reported yesterday that Vlad has placed its nuclear forces on high combat readiness.
It has long been suspected that Vlad could use the threat of nuclear weapons to force Ukraine’s surrender – or indeed detonate one of the weapons to break the deadlock.
Vlad using an atomic bomb during the war would be the first time such a weapon has been used in combat since the US dropped two bombs on Japan in 1945.
The war on the ground has stagnated relatively over the winter – with bloody, grueling trench warfare over the eastern flank.
Vuhledar and Bakhmut have become the bloodiest battles of the war to date – with Zelensky calling them a “living wall” against Russia.
Ukraine continues to call for more Western aid — particularly fighter jets — to defeat Russia once and for all.
Russia expected to be greeted as conquering liberators when it staged its invasion nearly a year ago.
But instead of flags and jubilant crowns, they met shots and brave resistance.
Putin is facing internal political pressures with the anniversary just days away – and with very little to show for the vast outlay of blood and treasure.
It is believed that if Putin continues to fail in the war, his regime could collapse – with dire consequences for Russia.
Biden’s unannounced visit to Ukraine is seen as a call to solidify support in the West.
The US President has seen some voices in Washington begin to waver as he pledged a further £400m in support for Kiev.
However, he promised that Washington would stand by Kiev “as long as necessary”.
Biden said: “When Putin launched his invasion almost a year ago, he thought Ukraine was weak and the West was divided.
“He thought he could outlive us.
“The costs that Ukraine had to pay are extraordinarily high. The sacrifices have been far too great… We know we have difficult days, weeks and years ahead of us.”
And the Ukrainian leader welcomed Biden’s visit, saying it shows Russia has “no chance” of winning.
“This is a clear signal that Russian attempts at victory will have no chance,” said Zelenskyj.
“Together we will protect our cities, our people from the terror of Russia.”
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security Council, believes Putin could unleash the new offensive on either February 23 or 24.
But he insisted the country was “ready” – and promised the war would end with Ukrainian tanks in Red Square.
“We will also master this day. Yes, it will be difficult, but we will all get through it,” he said.
In a sit-down interview with The Sun in Kiev, Danilov also referred to the Russian president as “Hitler’s twin”.
Danilov said: “Our tanks will be in Red Square and that will be justice.
“We didn’t start this war. We didn’t call them here.
“They invaded our territory, killing our women, our children, the elderly and civilians.
“If we don’t give them a proper answer, it’s only a matter of time before they invade another country.”
Officially, Kiev’s war aim is to expel all Russian forces from Ukrainian soil – as defined by the 1991 borders.
Danilov said Russia was destined to destroy itself.
He said: “Putin will go down in history as the man who destroyed Russia.
“My biggest concern for the next 12 months is that the West doesn’t understand that Russia will be fragmented.
“It’s inevitable. It’s like a volcanic eruption.
“The process has already begun and cannot be stopped.”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7450524/putin-speech-ukraine-russia-war/ Putin delivers landmark speech as he escalates war in Ukraine and threatens West