Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine and its global effects have only benefited Russia, President Vladimir Putin claimed on Wednesday while speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
When asked about what Russia has gained and lost as a result of the military campaign launched in late February, Putin stated that Russia has not and will not lose anything. Instead, it has only strengthened its sovereignty, he claimed.
“Yes, there is a certain polarization going on both in the world and within the country, but I believe this will only work to our benefit. Because everything unnecessary, harmful and preventing us from moving forward will be rejected,” Putin said, adding that Russia will inevitably “pick up the pace of development,” which he says can only be based on sovereignty.
“All our steps are aimed at strengthening our sovereignty,” the Russian leader proclaimed.
He went on to point out that he doesn’t consider Russia’s activities in Ukraine to be the beginning of the military action, but rather that the operation is Moscow’s attempt to end the hostilities in the region.
“The military actions began in 2014 after the coup in Ukraine, when those who did not want peaceful development and sought to suppress their own people conducted one military operation after another and conducted genocide against the people of Donbas for eight years,” said Putin.
Russia decided to carry out a mirror response after all attempts at a peaceful resolution to the conflict failed, he said, adding that Russia’s actions were “deliberate” and aimed at helping those who live in Donbas.
“This is our duty and we will fulfill it to the end,” Putin stated, adding that “ultimately, this will lead to the strengthening of our country, both from within and from a foreign policy standpoint.”
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.