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

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Russian President Vladimir Putin aired familiar complaints and criticisms of hegemonic “Western elites” during a keynote foreign policy speech on Thursday in a theoretical pitch to Asian leaders and conservative groups in the United States and Europe.

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

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow, Putin presented Russia as a champion of emerging nations in a new multipolar world, which he demanded the United States and other Western powers respect as equals. Get started. And looking for common ground with the right wing in the West, they cast Russia as a defender of traditional Christian values ​​because society has lost its way.

“I believe that sooner or later both the new centers of a multipolar world system and the West will have to start equal discussions about a common future for us, and of course the sooner the better,” Putin said. . He added that he believes the West is losing its hegemony and is “increasingly becoming a minority on the global stage.”

Indeed, it is Russia that has become deeply isolated as a result of Putin’s brutal invasion and attempt to illegally annex four Ukrainian territories in violation of international law. Earlier this month, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly not to recognize Putin’s accession, calling on him to reverse course. The results were 143 to 5 with 35 absences. The four countries that supported Russia were Belarus, Nicaragua, North Korea and Syria.

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Putin-linked Russian star Ksenia Sobchak escaped using an Israeli passport.

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

Despite making hostility to the West a mainstay of his foreign policy and his daily talking points, Putin insists that Russia does not primarily see itself as an enemy of the West, but instead as “strange” and “strange” by the West. Opposes attempts to create “neoliberal” Values ​​in other societies of the world.

According to Putin, these alien values ​​include “cancellation of culture”, “parades of dozens of homosexuals” and the right to express one’s gender identity.

On Thursday, Russia’s lower house of parliament unanimously approved a law that bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among Russian citizens and imposes heavy fines for mentioning the LGBTQ+ community in public. .

Putin said there are at least two Wests. There is a West of “traditional, mainly Christian, values, freedom, patriotism, richest culture” which is close to Russia. “But there is another West – aggressive, cosmopolitan, neo-colonial, acting as a tool of the neoliberal elite,” he continued. “And Russia, of course, will absolutely never tolerate this order from the West.”

The ‘Russian’ arrested in Norway was at a European seminar on hybrid attacks.

In a nearly three-hour speech and question-and-answer session, Putin made a number of wild claims, including that the West provoked the war in Ukraine.

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“Unlike the West, we don’t climb into someone else’s backyard,” 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 support in Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro and other countries.

Putin again condemned US President Donald Trump’s order to kill Qassem Soleimani, a top general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, whom the Pentagon accused of carrying out attacks on American citizens. “They killed Soleimani on the territory of another state and said: ‘Yes, we killed him,'” Putin said. “What is that? What world are we living in?”

Russia has been accused of orchestrating attacks on Kremlin critics abroad, from the killing of Chechens in Germany to the poisoning of ex-secret service agents and defectors in London. Alexei Navalny, a leading critic of Putin, is imprisoned in Russia after surviving a poison attack.

“Everything that comes from Russia is always labeled ‘Kremlin plots’,” Putin said. “But look at yourself! Are we that powerful? Any criticism of our opponents is considered ‘Kremlin’s hand’, but you can’t just blame everything. [us.]”

In recent years, Putin’s government has taken an increasingly repressive approach, cracking down on political opposition figures, journalists, activists and scholars – labeling hundreds as “foreign agents”. .

Russia’s methodical attacks exploit the vulnerability of Ukraine’s power system.

The panel’s moderator, political analyst Fedor Lukyanov, pressed Putin on whether Moscow underestimates its adversaries in Ukraine, the battlefield setbacks the Russian military has faced in recent weeks and the overall pace of the war, which is now in its ninth month. I am entering. Early Kremlin expected to quickly capture Kyiv.

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“Society does not understand – what is the plan in this operation?” Lukyanov continued by pointing to dissatisfaction with Moscow’s military strategy and an unpopular mobilization campaign that recruited 300,000 or more but sent hundreds of thousands fleeing the country to fight. to avoid being sent to

Putin rejected the criticism. He said the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine and the “building of strongpoints” would have worsened the balance of the battlefield for Russia in the future.

Putin also repeated Russia’s unsupported claims that Ukraine was preparing to use “dirty bombs” containing radioactive material. Western leaders have dismissed the allegation as false and a possible pretext for Russia to escalate the war with its own use of such a weapon.

In previous remarks, Putin has often said he is willing to use “all available means,” referring to Russia’s vast nuclear arsenal, but he insisted on Thursday that Russia would never openly use nuclear weapons. did not threaten to do so and there was no need to do so in Ukraine.

Putin repeated his false accusations of state-sponsored “Nazism” in Kyiv, and he insisted that the United States could end the war. He said that the policy makers in Washington can resolve the Ukraine issue very quickly through diplomacy. “They just need to send a signal to Kyiv to change their attitude and try for peace talks.”

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