The world is entering probably the “most dangerous” decade since the end of World War II, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Thursday, presenting the conflict in Ukraine as part of a larger struggle against Western domination.
Arguing that Western dominance in world affairs was coming to an end, Putin insisted that Russia was not just challenging the West, but fighting for its own right to exist. Putin was speaking as Ukrainian troops reclaimed more territory that Moscow annexed as its own, and mobilized more troops to defend.
“Ahead is probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time most important decade since the end of World War II,” Putin told members of the annual Valdai discussion club, during a long session of questions answers.
The situation was “to some extent revolutionary”, he said, describing the Ukrainian offensive as simply part of “tectonic shifts in the whole world order”. “The historic period of unchallenged dominance of the West in world affairs is coming to an end,” Putin said.
“The unipolar world is becoming a thing of the past. While the West was still desperately trying to rule humanity, it was unable to. “Most people in the world don’t want to put up with it anymore,” he said.
And the Russian president has called the current crisis a battle for Russia’s survival. “Russia is not challenging the elites of the West, Russia is just trying to defend its right to exist,” he said.
‘dirty bomb’ line
Putin also backtracked on Russian allegations that Ukraine was preparing to use a “dirty bomb” against its soldiers. Kyiv “does everything to hide the traces of this preparation” for such a bomb, he said.
On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), responding to the allegations, said it regularly visits two sites about which Moscow has raised questions. Inspectors from the UN agency have found nothing abnormal and are preparing to carry out a new visit in the coming days, the statement added.
“We are for it,” Putin said. “And it should be done as quickly as possible.” A dirty bomb is a conventional bomb containing radioactive, biological or chemical materials that are released during an explosion.
Over the past week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has repeated claims about a Ukrainian dirty bomb in conversations with his counterparts in France, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and India. . France, the United States and the United Kingdom all rejected the claim, and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia could try to use the claim as a “pretext” for escalation.
Kyiv, meanwhile, said it suspected Russia of itself using a dirty bomb in a “false flag” attack. But Putin said on Thursday that the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine “would make no sense to us, either in political or military terms.”
Earlier Thursday, the Kremlin said Ukraine pulled out of peace talks with Moscow in March on Washington’s orders. “The text was ready… And then suddenly the Ukrainian side went off the radar, the Ukrainian side said they didn’t want to continue negotiations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. .
Talks between Kyiv and Moscow have stalled since March, with each side accusing the other of being at an impasse. Zelenskyy on Wednesday dismissed any possibility of talks with Moscow, denouncing Putin’s “planned rhetoric”. At the end of September, he declared that he would not negotiate with Russia as long as Putin was president.
Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine has met with repeated setbacks. In recent weeks, Putin changed military commanders there after Kyiv forces launched a counteroffensive, retaking territory to the east.
Last week, Putin imposed martial law in four Ukrainian regions he declared annexed: Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk. The annexation announcement came in late September, although Moscow’s forces do not fully control some areas. More recently, for example, heavy fighting took place in the eastern region of Donetsk.
Russian-installed authorities in the occupied Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia on Thursday ordered phone checks of local residents. Anyone who subscribed to the “propaganda resources of the Kyiv terrorist regime” would receive a warning, before being fined.
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