Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the Valdai International Discussion Club last week to give a long speech on his worldview and give an update on the Ukraine War.
Putin’s position seemed to remain unchanged since the beginning of the conflict and he, once again, said Russia will achieve its objectives. No matter how long it takes.
He brushed aside claims by the U.S. and the West that Moscow is failing in its war effort and, in its desperation, have turned to the threat of nuclear weapons. Despite the continuing NATO/U.S. claims that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons, Putin said it was not true and Moscow “said nothing about using nuclear weapons,” in direct response to inflammatory statements by the West.
“There is no point in that, neither political, nor military,” he said.
He seemed to be particularly incensed with Liz Truss, the former British prime minister. (See “IT’S ONE BIG CLUB: EX-GOLDMAN SACHS BANKER TO BECOME NEXT BRITISH PRIME MINISTER.”)
Truss, while running for prime minister after Boris Johnson’s swift fall, said she would have no problem pressing the button if it meant nuclear Armageddon. She said, “It’s an important duty of the prime minister and I’m ready to do that…I’m ready to do that.”
(It is worth noting that, in February, Russia also said it put its nuclear forces on high alert after a Truss comment. She was foreign minister at the time.)
Putin said Truss must have been “a bit out of it” when she made the comment.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden, while at a Democratic fundraiser in New York, confirmed to an audience that the risk of nuclear Armageddon is at its highest point since the Cuban Missile Crisis. His remarks were troubling given that hours earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for the West to take “preventive action” to stop Moscow from using tactical nukes.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. has been monitoring Russia and has not “seen any reason to change our nuclear posture.”
Putin said the U.S. is trying to portray Russia as a reckless nuclear power in hopes to get neutral countries to side with the West in its opposition to Moscow.
He also disagreed with Biden that this is a repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, squared off against John F. Kennedy. Putin said, “I cannot imagine myself in Khrushchev’s role, not under any circumstances.”
The Financial Times reported that Putin said Moscow reached out to the U.S. in December to talk about strategic stability and did not hear back.
Putin told the audience that the world “faces a choice: accumulate a load of problems that will inevitably crush us all or try to find solutions that may not be ideal but could work and could make the world more stable and secure.”
TREND FORECAST: The longer the United States and NATO send weapons to Ukraine, the longer the war will rage and become bloodier and more destructive to Ukraine.
Also, both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have stated that they will not abandon their goals. Putin vows to keep the Donbas territory that he says is a protectorate of Russia, and that Crimea of which some 96 percent of the people voted to join Russia, will stay Russian, and for Ukraine not to join NATO.
On the other side, at the end of September, Ukraine President Zelensky said in a statement posted on his presidential website, “We are taking our decisive step by signing Ukraine’s application for accelerated accession to NATO”… while he also insists on that Russia return to Ukraine’s 23 February border—and that Crimea must be returned to Ukraine.
Lloyd Austin, the secretary of defense, took to Twitter on Sunday to announce another $225 million in “security assistance” for Ukraine that includes High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, 500 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds, and 125 Humvees.
The U.S. has hoped that it would be able to starve Russia into submission by leveling sanctions on its energy industry, but those plans backfired because Moscow found buyers in China, India, South Africa, and other countries. Yes, Russia is selling oil and gas at a discount, but it has proven that it can survive without doing business with the West.
As we have noted, they are becoming a self-sustaining nation, one of our Top Trends for 2022.
Putin acknowledged that it was to be expected that Russia would face challenges.
“First of all, it deals with our losses due to special military operation(s),” he said. “I talk about this all the time. But we have economic losses too, but we also have massive gains. What is happening now, without any doubt, and I want to emphasize at the end of the day will be for the good of Russia and its future. It’s connected to the strengthening of our sovereignty in every way, and in this case in the economic sphere.”
Putin Uses Soleimani Killing to Illustrate Point
Putin used the U.S.’s assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani as an example of the U.S.’s effort to promote instability around the world.
The Russian president said the U.S. has no limits.
“They are not shy about anything,” he said. “They killed Soleimani, an Iranian general… You can judge Soleimani however you want, but this is an official in another state. They killed him on a territory of a third country and said, ‘Yes, we killed him.’”
Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Quds force who was revered in the country, was vaporized in a drone strike just outside the Baghdad airport in Iraq. Former President Trump ordered the strike, which was seen as a major escalation between Washington and Tehran.
The Atlantic Council said Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron held a phone conversation at the time and both agreed that the actions had the “potential to seriously aggravate the situation in the region.”
Russia said “the killing of a representative of a government of a sovereign state, an official, these actions are completely devoid of any legal basis.”
TRENDPOST: Philip Giraldi, a former intelligence officer for the CIA, wrote in these pages at the time that the U.S. and Israel are, generally speaking, the only two countries that openly use “targeted assassination” as a political tool without even bothering to fall back on “plausible denial” to conceal their actions. (See: “WASHINGTON’S ASSASINATION BUREAU.”)