Vladimir Putin, President of Russia. Photo by Pavel Byrkin (Sputnik/AFP/Scanpix).
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, on Tuesday accused Washington of seeking to prolong the war in Ukraine and foment conflicts elsewhere in the world, including a visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives.
“The situation in Ukraine shows that the US is trying to prolong this conflict. And they are doing the same, fueling opportunities for conflict in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” Putin said in a televised speech to participants of an international security conference in Moscow during its opening ceremony.
“The American adventure towards Taiwan is not a simple trip of one irresponsible politician, but part of a purposeful, deliberate strategy of the US to destabilize the situation and create chaos in the region and the world, a brazen display of disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries and international obligations,” he said.
“We see this as a carefully planned provocation,” the Russian leader emphasized.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have been strained since late February, when Russian forces invaded pro-Western Ukraine.
This war claimed thousands of lives, forced millions of people from their homes, and exacerbated food shortages around the world.
Speaking at the conference, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, said Moscow has no plans to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
“From a military point of view, there is no need for us to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve the set goals,” said S. Shoigu.
“The main purpose of Russia’s nuclear weapons is to deter a nuclear attack,” he added.
With Russia facing unprecedented Western sanctions, Putin is seeking closer ties with African and Asian countries, especially China.
Moscow stood in full solidarity with its main ally Beijing during Pelosi’s infuriating visit to democratically autonomous Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.
Such a statement by V. Putin is contradicted by his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s speech at the security conference in Russia on Tuesday. There, he said that “the supply of Western weapons, including HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, had no effect on the military operation in Ukraine,” the minister was quoted as saying by the Interfax agency.
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