Nearly six months after invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the US of turning Ukrainians into “cannon fodder” to extend hostilities with Russia in an effort to retain its “hegemony”.
Speaking at a security conference that was attended by military officials from Africa, Asia and Latin America, the Russian president reiterated that he sent troops into Ukraine in response to the US turning the country into an “anti-Russia” bulwark.
“They [the US] need conflicts to retain their hegemony,” Mr Putin alleged. “That’s why they have turned the Ukrainian people into cannon fodder.”
“The situation in Ukraine shows that the US [wanted] to drag the conflict out, and it acts in exactly the same way trying to fuel conflicts in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” he added.
Since Mr Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, the US-led defence bloc Nato has provided billions of dollars in aid, including weapons, to fight Russian troops.
In May, US president Joe Biden signed a legislation to support Ukraine with an additional $40bn assistance, which was passed by Congress with bipartisan support.
While trying to gather support from allies amid Western sanctions, Mr Putin drew parallels between the US backing Ukraine and American leader Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan. He claimed that both were part of an American attempt to foment global instability.
“The American adventure in Taiwan wasn’t just a trip by an irresponsible politician,” the Russian president said. “It was part of a deliberate and conscious US strategy intended to destabilise the situation and create chaos in the region and the entire world, a blatant demonstration of disrespect for another country’s sovereignty and its own international obligations.”
He further added that “western globalist elites” were trying “to shift the blame for their own failures to Russia and China”.
“No matter how hard the beneficiaries of the current globalist model try to cling to it, it’s doomed,” Mr Putin said, stressing that the “era of the unipolar world order is nearing its end”.
Beijing, a close ally of Moscow, has refrained from condemning Mr Putin’s aggression.
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, speaking at the same conference, said that Ukraine’s western allies, along with providing Kyiv with weapons, have also shared detailed intelligence information and deployed instructors to help troops.
“Western intelligence agencies not only have provided target coordinates for launching strikes, but western specialists also have overseen the input of those data into weapons systems,” Mr Shoigu said.
However, he dismissed allegations that Moscow could potentially use nuclear or chemical weapons, calling it an “absolute lie”.
“From the military viewpoint, there is no need for using nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve the stated goals,” he said. “The main mission of the Russian nuclear forces is providing a deterrent against a nuclear attack.”
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