LONDON (AFP, REUTERS) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday (March 16) that the West would not succeed in what he called its attempt to achieve global dominance and dismember Russia.
If the West thought that Russia would step back, it did not understand Russia, Mr Putin said on the 21st day of the war against Ukraine.
“Behind the hypocritical talk and today’s actions of the so-called collective West are hostile geopolitical goals. They just don’t want a strong and sovereign Russia,” Mr Putin said.
He said Russia was ready to discuss Ukraine’s neutral status in talks aimed at ending hostilities, but it would still meet the objectives of its military operation, which was “going to plan”.
In remarks to government ministers that were broadcast on state television, Mr Putin said the West would only strengthen Russia with its hostile actions.
In his most explicit acknowledgment of the pain inflicted by Western sanctions, he said inflation and unemployment would rise, but promised support to families with children.
Structural changes to the economy would be needed, Mr Putin said.
He said the West had effectively declared default on Russia as part of its sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, but said the conflict had been only a pretext for the West to impose sanctions on Moscow.
“The West doesn’t even bother to hide that their aim is to damage the entire Russian economy, every Russian,” Mr Putin said.