Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has again justified the war against Ukraine, which has been going on for almost four months, as there being no alternative. “In the current situation, against the background of increasing risks and threats to us, Russia’s decision to conduct a special military operation was (…) forced and necessary,” Putin said on Friday at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

Putin went on to say: “The decision is aimed at protecting our citizens and residents of the people’s republics in Donbass who have been subjected to genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years.”

The head of the Kremlin had already in the past accused Ukraine of “genocide” against Russian-speaking people in recent years – without presenting any evidence.

Moscow also justifies the war ordered against the neighboring country at the end of February with the alleged “liberation” of Ukraine from “Neo-Nazis”.´

On June 9, Putin put the war he had ordered against Ukraine on the same level as the Great Northern War under Russia’s Tsar Peter I and spoke of a return campaign for Russian soil. Peter didn’t conquer the area around today’s metropolis of St. Petersburg from the Swedes, but rather won it back. “Apparently it is also our lot: to bring back and strengthen,” Putin drew parallels to the war against Ukraine.

He accused the West of arrogance, the US acted as if they had been sent to earth by God with sacred interests, Putin said. “Our western colleagues still think in terms of the last century, they treat other countries like colonies,” Putin said, declaring that nothing in international politics will ever be the same again.

Putin is claiming a leading role in shaping global power relations for his country. As a powerful and modern country, Russia is part of a new world order, he said.

It is obvious that the rules of the new world order will be set by strong and sovereign states. “We are a strong people and we can face any challenge. Like our ancestors, we will solve any problem, the entire millennial history of our country testifies to that,” Putin said.

According to Putin, the Western sanctions against Russia have failed to have any effect. “From the start, the economic blitzkrieg had no chance of success,” Putin said. “We are strong people and we can handle any challenge.”

The sanctions imposed by Western states in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine, Putin described as “insane” and “thoughtless”. The punitive measures also hit the EU hard.

If Putin was just teasing Peter the Great, what categories does Russia think in?

Putin has rejected a possible threat of nuclear war emanating from Russia. As soon as you react to statements made by foreign politicians, it immediately means that Russia is threatening someone, he says. And added: “We are not threatening anything. But everyone should know what we have and what we may use to protect our sovereignty.”

According to the Kremlin, the planned speech was previously delayed due to a hacker attack. There was an attack on the admission system, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. The speech planned for 1 p.m. CEST was postponed by one hour.

Every year, Putin’s appearance in front of an international audience is the highlight of the economic gathering, which this year marks its 25th anniversary. The Kremlin had previously announced a landmark speech by the President.

Guests must have a special delegate pass to access the Forum grounds, which are organized like a major business fair and feature hundreds of round tables and other events. Guests are only allowed through if the security system with computers and screens works. According to the Kremlin, this system has now been attacked by hackers.

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