Putin says in New Year message West is using Ukraine to destroy Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday (Dec 31) his country would never give in to the West’s attempts to use Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia.

In a New Year’s video message broadcast on Russian state TV, Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to protect its “motherland” and to secure “true independence” for its people.

In a nine-minute message – the longest New Year’s address of his two-decade rule – Putin accused the West of lying to Russia and of provoking Moscow to launch what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

“For years, Western elites hypocritically assured us of their peaceful intentions,” he said in a speech filmed in front of Russian service personnel at the headquarters of Russia’s southern military district.

“In fact, in every possible way they were encouraging neo-Nazis who conducted open terrorism against civilians in the Donbas,” Putin said in an uncharacteristically combative New Year’s speech, usually dedicated to well wishes for the year ahead.

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