Speaking to officials in the Russian parliament on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin warned that the military has barely begun operations in Ukraine — suggesting he sees a protracted battle ahead for all of Ukraine — in a direct challenge to the West, which continues to send weapons to Kyiv.
It is widely seen as one of Ukraine’s fiercest speeches and challenges addressed by Western aid providers since he authorized the February 24 invasion.
Putin went on to reiterate a previous theme he spoke about, which is witnessing the birth of a multipolar world as a result of Russia’s resistance to NATO hegemony, according to his words quoted in The Moscow Times :
He accused “the collective West” of unleashing a “war” in Ukraine and said Russia’s intervention in the pro-Western country marked the beginning of a shift towards a “multipolar world”.
“This process cannot be stopped,” he added.
Russia hasn’t really started anything yet
Russia is ready to enter into peace negotiations with Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday, warning those who reject such a prospect should realize that prolonging the ongoing conflict would only make such talks more difficult.
“We do not refuse to negotiate peace, but those who refuse should know that the longer they do so, the harder it will be for them to negotiate with us,” Putin said, issuing a warning to those who might think that Russia has already exhausted its options in the midst of the conflict.
“We hear today that they want us to be defeated on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try. We haven’t even really started anything yet.”
Putin also said the West actually seems willing to “fight to the last Ukrainian,” which he says is a “tragedy” for the Ukrainian people.
The president blamed the ongoing conflict on US-led NATO, stressing that Russia’s consistent efforts to establish a fair international security system have been jeopardized.
“The initiatives to cooperate on missile defense have been rejected, warnings about the unacceptability of NATO expansion, especially at the expense of the former Soviet republics, have been ignored,” Putin said.
Putin admitted that if the West aimed to provoke a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, it has apparently succeeded. On a strategic level, however, the West had already lost when Moscow began its military operation in Ukraine, Putin stated.
“They should have realized that they had already lost from the very beginning of our special military operation because the beginning of that also means the beginning of a complete collapse of the American world order.”
The president added that the ongoing demolition “cannot be stopped.”