Russian President Vladimir Putin made a grandiose speech at the Valdai Discussion Club on Thursday, repeating a number of what western analysts have described as “multiple long-standing Russian information operations.”
Let’s take a look at some of his comments…
A ‘New World’
Speaking at the event – which was titled ‘Fair Multipolarity: How to Ensure Security and Development for Everyone’ – Putin claimed his mission was to create a “new world,” and once again blamed the West for his decision to launch an illegal and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“We are tasked, essentially, with building a new world,” Putin said, adding the West was aiming for global “hegemony.”
“The West always needs an enemy,” he added.
Putin didn't describe in detail how this “new world” would look, but as he was speaking a Russian Iskander missile struck a funeral in the Ukrainian village of Hroza, killing 51 people including a six-year-old boy.
Cocaine and Wagner
Putin also gave the first significant update on Russia's investigation into the death of Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin and his crew after their plane crashed over Russia in August.
In short, Putin suggested those aboard the plane were drunk and high on cocaine and blew themselves up with hand grenades and the plane was definitely not shot down on his orders.
"The head of the Investigative Committee reported to me a few days ago," he said.
“Fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of the victims of the air disaster.
“There was no external impact on the plane.”
Putin has criticized investigators for not conducting alcohol and drug tests on Prigozhin and the nine other victims of the crash.
He also alleged that five kilograms of cocaine were found at the Wagner offices after the mercenary group's short-lived rebellion.
Putin claims Prigozhin’s plane crashed because the Wagner leadership got drunk and/or high, then set off hand grenades during the flight.— max seddon (@maxseddon) October 5, 2023
Seems legit, definitely no further questions about that incident, we can all move on pic.twitter.com/JeM8ljlibi
The Institute for the Study of War, wrote: “Putin’s bizarre explanation of the plane crash is likely an attempt to blame Prigozhin for his own and his comrades’ deaths and further disgrace him among his remaining supporters.
Putin – who on the 24 Feb. 2022 ordered his armed forces to take over and occupy Ukraine – insisted the war is “not a territorial” one and that Moscow has “no interests from the point of view of conquering some territories.”
Russia's army illegally occupies large swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine.
In September of last year, Putin formally annexed four Ukrainian regions: Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk.
Despite not being in control of these areas in their entirety, Moscow has gone to great lengths to try to put the official stamp of approval on conquering parts of Ukraine, holding sham elections and forcing Ukrainians to take Russian citizenship.
In June of last year, Putin admitted the full-scale invasion of Ukraine was an imperial war to “return” Russian land.
A fragment of Putin's 3 hour speech on the discussion club Valdai yesterday.— Sviat Hnizdovskyi (@s_hnizdovskyi) October 6, 2023
While he was talking about Russia "increasing military spending" and the West "running out of ammunition", people in Hroza, Kharkiv region were identifying those killed by Russian ballistic missile and… pic.twitter.com/ySTgTakAk1
Russia “Trying to Stop the War”
Putin also claimed he was trying to stop the war which he started 10 years ago when he oversaw the annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
“The war, which was started by the Kyiv regime with active support from the West, has been going on already for 10 years,” he said.
“The special military operation was launched to stop it,” he said, using Moscow's term for the offensive.
When launched, the “special military operation” was supposed to last only a matter of days and had the aim of occupying Kyiv and decapitating Ukraine’s government.
Such was the confidence of the Kremlin at the time, some of the initial wave of Russia’s invasion troops were carrying their dress uniforms with them, convinced they would take the Ukrainian capital without a fight and be hosting a victory parade within days.
A few days into the invasion, Russian state media accidentally published pre-written articles declaring Russia’s victory and the capture of Kyiv.
Now into its 20th month, the “special military operation” has still failed to achieve its goals.
Ukraine and much of the international community points out the war would be over if Russia simply withdrew from the areas it currently illegally occupies.
‘A Week to Live’
Putin also claimed Ukraine would only have a “week to live” if the West stopped supplying it with ammunition.
“Imagine if supplies stopped tomorrow – there would only be a week to live when the ammunition runs out,” he said.
As noted earlier, Putin failed to defeat Ukraine’s armed forces when his full military might was arrayed against Kyiv’s vastly outnumbered and outgunned forces in the early days of the full-scale invasion.
Since then, Ukraine’s armed forces have only received more training and arms while Russia’s have been seriously degraded.
In the latest setback, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF) evacuated almost all of its warships from the prized Sevastopol naval base in occupied Crimea and moved them to what it considers to be safer ports on the Russian mainland out of reach of Kyiv missile and drone strikes.
Ukraine has achieved this significant goal despite the fact it doesn’t even have a navy of its own.
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