Putin insists U.S. respect ‘multipolar’ world and tell Kyiv to seek peace

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Russian President Vladimir Putin offered an ideological stance to Asian leaders and conservative groups in the United States and Europe during his keynote speech on foreign policy on Thursday, airing familiar complaints and criticisms of the hegemonic “Western elite”.

Putin also blamed the West for the war in Ukraine, which began with a large-scale invasion in February, and insisted that Washington could end the conflict by directing the Ukrainian government to seek peace.

In his speech at the annual meeting of the Valday Discussion Club in Moscow, Putin presented Russia as a champion of rising nations in the new multipolar world and demanded that the United States and other Western powers begin to respect them as equal states. And seeking common ground with the right-wing in the West, he portrayed Russia as a defender of traditional Christian values ​​as society lost its way.

“I am sure that sooner or later both the new centers of the multipolar world order and the West will have to start an equal conversation about a common future for us, and of course the sooner the better,” Putin said. He added that he believes the West has lost its dominance and is “quickly becoming a minority on the world stage.”

In reality, as a result of Putin’s merciless occupation and his attempt to illegally annex 4 regions of Ukraine in violation of international law, Russia is deeply isolated. Earlier this month, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly not to recognize Putin’s annexations and urged him to reverse course. The results were 143 to 5 with 35 abstentions. The four countries on Russia’s side were Belarus, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Syria.

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The Kremlin has boasted that future generations will “read and re-read” the speech, but on Thursday, Putin chatted with guests from India, Pakistan, China and Indonesia, as well as pro-Kremlin politicians from Moldova, and asked him strange questions. about his vision of a post-conflict, post-American hegemony world. There were few Westerners in the audience.

Despite making competition with the West a cornerstone of his foreign policy and a daily talking point, Putin has insisted that Russia does not fundamentally see itself as an enemy of the West, but instead opposes “strange” and “neoliberal” Western attempts at indoctrination. values ​​in other societies of the world.

According to Putin, these alien values ​​include “abolishing culture”, “gay parades” and the right to express one’s gender identity.

On Thursday, the lower house of the Russian parliament unanimously passed a law banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations” among Russian citizens and introducing heavy fines for mentioning the LGBTQ+ community in public.

“There are at least two Wests,” Putin said. One is the “traditional, primarily Christian values, freedom, patriotism, richest culture” West, to which Russia is close. “But there is another West – one that acts as a tool of aggressive, cosmopolitan, neocolonial, neoliberal elites.” “And Russia, of course, will never come to terms with this Western dictate.”

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During the nearly three-hour speech and question-and-answer session, Putin made a number of far-fetched claims, including that the war in Ukraine was incited by the West.

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“Unlike the West, we do not enter someone else’s yard,” Putin said, adding that Moscow does not interfere in the affairs of other states.

Over the past 15 years, Russia has invaded two of its neighbors, Ukraine and Georgia, intervened militarily in Syria, and spent millions to gain political favor in Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro and other countries.

Putin once again condemned US President Donald Trump’s killing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards General Qasem Soleimani, accusing the Pentagon of attacks against US citizens. “They killed Soleimani on the territory of another state and said: ‘Yes, we killed him,'” Putin said. “What is this? What kind of world do we live in?”

Russia has been accused of orchestrating attacks on several Kremlin critics abroad, from the killing of Chechens in Germany to the poisoning of former secret service agents and defectors in London. Alexei Navalny, Putin’s main critic, is in prison in Russia after surviving a poison attack.

“Whatever comes from Russia is always branded as ‘Kremlin intrigues,'” Putin said. “But look at yourself! Are we that strong? Any criticism of our opponents is seen as “Kremlin’s hand”, but you can’t blame everything. [us.]”

In recent years, Putin’s government has been increasingly repressive, cracking down on political opposition figures, journalists, activists and academics and labeling hundreds of people as “foreign agents”.

Russia’s methodical attacks exploit the weakness of Ukraine’s energy system

The panel’s moderator, political analyst Fedor Lukyanov, pressed Putin for underestimating Moscow’s adversaries in Ukraine, a tacit reference to the battlefield setbacks the Russian military has faced in recent weeks and the overall momentum of the war, which is now entering its ninth month. Initially, the Kremlin expected to capture Kiev quickly.

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“The public does not understand – what is the plan in this operation?” Lukyanov continued, pointing to growing discontent with Moscow’s military strategy and an unpopular mobilization that calls up 300,000 or more troops but sends hundreds of thousands more fleeing the country to avoid being sent into battle.

Putin rejected the criticism. He said that in the future, the balance of the battlefield will be worse for Russia under conditions of Western arms supply to Ukraine and “construction of fortified areas”.

Putin also repeated unsupported claims that Russia was preparing to use a “dirty bomb” containing radioactive material in Ukraine. Western leaders dismissed the accusation as a lie and a potential pretext for Russia itself to expand the war by using such a weapon.

In previous speeches, Putin has often pointed to Russia’s large nuclear arsenal and said he is ready to use “all possible means,” but insisted on Thursday that Russia has never publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons and there is no need for them in Ukraine.

Putin repeated his false accusations of state-sponsored “Nazism” in Kiev and insisted that the United States could end the war. “Those who implement the policy in Washington can solve the Ukraine problem very quickly through diplomacy. They should only send a signal to change the attitude to Kiev and strive for peace talks.”

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