The world faces the most dangerous decade since World War II as Western elites scramble to prevent the inevitable collapse of global dominance by the United States and its allies, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
Putin on Thursday accused the United States of inciting conflict in Ukraine, adding that the West was playing what he described as a “dangerous, bloody and dirty” geopolitical game that is wreaking havoc around the world.
Ultimately, he said, the West should talk to Russia and other major powers about the future of the world.
“The historic period of the West’s unchallenged dominance in world affairs is coming to an end,” Putin told the Valdai Discussion Club, a conference of international policy experts.
“We stand at a historical frontier: ahead of us is probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and, at the same time, most important decade since the end of the Second World War.
Russia does not see the West as an enemy of Russia despite the current phase of confrontation, he added. Moscow “had a message” for “the leading countries of the West and NATO: let’s stop being enemies, let’s live together”.
The White House said Putin’s remarks were not new and did not indicate a change in his strategic goals, including in Ukraine.
“Ready for Negotiations”
Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, sparking the biggest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis in the depths of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union and the United States drew closer of nuclear war.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed as the West imposed the toughest sanctions in history on Russia, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of natural resources.
Putin said Moscow was ready for talks to end the conflict in Ukraine, but said Kyiv was not ready to sit down at the negotiating table.
“It’s not about us, we’re ready for negotiations. But the leaders of Kyiv have decided not to continue negotiations with Russia,” he said. “It is very easy to solve this problem if Washington gives the signal to Kyiv to change its position and solve the problem peacefully.”
There have been no peace talks between the two since attempts at a negotiated settlement failed in the early weeks of the conflict, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has explicitly ruled out a negotiated deal with Putin.
Asked about a potential nuclear escalation, Putin said the danger of using nuclear weapons will exist as long as nuclear weapons exist.
Moscow has no intention of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, he said. “We don’t see the need for it. It makes no political or military sense.
Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that “the more the United States is drawn into supporting the Kyiv regime on the battlefield, the more likely it is to provoke a direct military confrontation between the biggest powers. nuclear power, fraught with catastrophic consequences”.
Citing a lecture given at Harvard in 1978 by Russian dissident and novelist Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, Putin said the West was openly racist and despised other peoples of the world.
“Power over the world is what the so-called West has put in its game – but the game is dangerous, bloody and I would say dirty,” Putin said. “The wind sower, as they say, will reap the storm.”
Putin framed the conflict in Ukraine as a battle between the West and Russia for the fate of the second-largest East Slavic country. It was, he said, partly a “civil war,” because Russians and Ukrainians were one people. Kyiv categorically rejects both ideas.
Putin said he constantly thought about Russian losses in Ukraine, but said only Russia could guarantee its territorial integrity.
“I have always believed and I believe in common sense, so I am convinced that sooner or later the new centers of the multipolar world order and the West will have to start an equal conversation about the future we share – and the the sooner the better,” Putin said.
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