Putin claims Russia had ‘no choice’ but to invade Ukraine, says ‘blind water’ talks

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called the war in Ukraine a “tragedy”, but insisted that Russia had “no choice” but to invade its western neighbor.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting in eastern Russia with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Putin said: “What is happening in Ukraine is a tragedy, no doubt about it. But we had no choice. It was just a question. about time ā€¯before an attack on Russia.

Putin traveled to Russia’s Far East Amur region to meet with Lukashenko, a loyal ally who has supported the Russian president and his war in Ukraine. The two leaders discussed the war during the meeting, the Russian news agency Tass reported.

Economic sanctions imposed on his country have “failed,” Putin added, claiming that the Russian economy is stable despite the blows.

“The ‘blitzkrieg’ sanctions against Russia failed. The country’s industry and financial system are working, but of course there are some problems,” Putin said. “It is clear that the Russian economy is stable. But in the medium and long term, the risks may increase. Our opponents plan to double their activities. “

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on April 12 that Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine would undoubtedly achieve its goals. (Video: Reuters, Photo: Reuters)

What role has Belarus played in the crisis between Russia and Ukraine?

Mr Lukashenko called the war a “dangerous moment” with the West and blamed Britain and the United States in particular. Putin thanked him for helping with the negotiations with Ukraine, but said they have reached a stalemate, which he blamed the Ukrainians for.

“Kiev has moved away from the Istanbul agreements, so we are back in a stalemate,” Putin said, referring to negotiations in the Turkish city at the end of last month. “Yesterday I was told that the Ukrainian side has changed something in its negotiating position. I do not know the details yet, “he added.

Putin also said it was unclear when the war would end. The “special military operation” in Ukraine is proceeding as planned and will continue until its goals are reached, he said. “We will act rhythmically, calmly in accordance with the plan originally proposed by the General Staff,” Putin said.

Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak denied that the peace talks had stalled, saying Russia was trying to put pressure on Ukraine through such public statements.

“The negotiations are extremely difficult,” Podolyak told Ukraine’s Pravda. “But they take place.”

“It is understood that the Ukrainian delegation is working exclusively within a framework that is pro-Ukrainian and transparent. It is also implied that the Russian side is sticking to its traditional tactics of publicly putting pressure on the negotiation process, including through certain public statements, “he added. .

The rare news conference hosted by Putin and Lukashenko followed a visit by the two leaders to the Vostochny Cosmodrome to mark Russia’s annual cosmonautics day, which celebrates the world’s first human spaceflight, by a Soviet cosmonaut in 1961.

Hubris and isolation led Vladimir Putin to misjudge Ukraine

Belarus’s military has not joined the fight in Ukraine, but Russian troops have been based in Belarus since before the war began, launching their main offensive on the ground into northern Ukraine and against Kiev from Belarusian territory.

But hundreds of pro-democracy activists from Belarus have joined the fight in Ukraine against Russia – inspired by Ukraine’s battlefield successes and determined to bring this momentum back to Belarus to end Lukashenko’s 28-year rule. The exiled Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has been a vocal opponent of the invasion and has branded Lukashenko’s government a “co-aggressor” in Russia’s war.

Belarus’s support for Russia during the invasion has also made it a target for economic sanctions. “Belarus has become more and more dependent on Russia for economic, political and military support in recent years,” the US Treasury Department said in a statement on February 24, announcing sanctions against the Eastern European country.

Putin supported his Belarusian counterpart when Lukashenko faced mass protests over the disputed 2020 election. At the time, Putin promised to send Russian forces to help quell the unrest. Russia also gave Belarus a $ 1.5 billion loan in support.

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