Putin insists U.S. respect ‘multipolar’ world and tell Kyiv to seek peace

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In a keynote foreign policy speech on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed Asian leaders and conservative groups in the United States and Europe with common grievances and criticisms of the hegemonic “Western elite.”

Putin has also blamed the West for the war in Ukraine, which he began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, insisting that Washington can end the conflict by instructing the Ukrainian government to seek peace.

In his speech at the annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow, Putin portrayed Russia as a champion of emerging powers in a new multipolar world, and he demanded that the United States and other Western powers begin to respect them equally. In seeking common ground with the Western right, he describes Russia as a defender of traditional Christian values ​​as society has lost its way.

“I believe that sooner or later, the new center of the multipolar world order and the West will have to have an equal dialogue about our common future, and of course the sooner the better,” Putin said. He added that he believed the West was losing its dominance and “quickly becoming a minority on the world stage”.

In fact, it is precisely because of Putin’s brutal invasion and his attempts to illegally annex four regions of Ukraine in violation of international law that Russia has become increasingly isolated. Earlier this month, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly not to recognize Putin’s annexation and called on him to change course. The result was 143 to 5, with 35 abstentions. The four countries that stand with Russia are Belarus, Nicaragua, North Korea and Syria.

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The Kremlin boasted that future generations “will read and reread” the speech, but on Thursday Putin spoke with a diverse group of guests from India, Pakistan, China and Indonesia, as well as fringe pro-Kremlin politicians from Moldova, who offered him Asked flattering questions about his vision for a post-conflict, post-American hegemonic world. There were very few Westerners in the audience.

Despite making confrontation with the West a cornerstone of his foreign policy and his daily talking point, Putin insists that Russia fundamentally does not see itself as an enemy of the West, but opposes the West’s inculcation of “strange” and “neoliberalism” “An attempt at the values ​​of the rest of the world’s societies.

According to Putin, these unfamiliar values ​​include “cancellation culture”, “dozens of gay parades” and the right to express one’s gender identity.

Russia’s lower house of parliament unanimously passed a law on Thursday banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships” among Russian citizens and imposing hefty fines for public references to the LGBTQ+ community.

“There are at least two Wests,” Putin said. One is that Russia is close to the “traditional, mainly Christian values, freedom, patriotism, richest culture” of the West. “But there is another West — aggressive, international, neocolonial, a tool of the neoliberal elite,” he continued. “Of course, Russia will never fully tolerate this Western directive.”

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In nearly three hours of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, Putin made some far-fetched claims, including the West inciting war in Ukraine.

“Unlike the West, we don’t crawl into other people’s yards,” Putin said, claiming that Moscow would not interfere in other countries’ affairs.

For 15 years, Russia has invaded neighboring Ukraine and Georgia, engaged in military mediation in Syria, and spent millions to curry favor with politics in Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, and more.

Putin again condemned U.S. President Donald Trump for ordering the assassination of top Iranian Revolutionary Guard general Qassem Soleimani, whom the Pentagon accused of attacking U.S. citizens. “They killed Soleimani on the territory of another country and said: ‘Yes, we killed him,'” Putin said. “What is that? What world do we live in?”

Russia is accused of organizing attacks abroad against several Kremlin critics, from assassinating Chechens in Germany to poisoning former agents and defectors in London. Putin’s main critic, Alexei Navalny, is being held in Russia after surviving a poisoning attack.

“Anything from Russia is always labelled a ‘Kremlin conspiracy’,” Putin said. “But look at yourself! Are we that strong? Any criticism of our opponents is seen as ‘the hand of the Kremlin’, but you can’t blame everything on [us.]”

In recent years, Putin’s government has become increasingly repressive, cracking down on political opposition figures, journalists, activists and academics — labelling hundreds of people as “foreign agents.”

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Panel moderator and political analyst Fedor Lukyanov pressured Putin over whether Moscow had underestimated its opponent in Ukraine, hinting at the setbacks the Russian military has suffered on the battlefield in recent weeks, And the general tempo of the war now entering its ninth month, although the Kremlin initially expected it to take Kyiv quickly.

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“Society doesn’t understand – what is the plan for this operation?” Lukyanov continued, alluding to brewing dissatisfaction with Moscow’s military strategy and an unpopular mobilization that has called up 300,000 people. or more, but nearly hundreds of thousands more fled the country to avoid being sent to war.

Putin dismissed these criticisms. He said the balance on Russia’s future battlefield would be worse given the West’s supply of arms and “fortress building” to Ukraine.

Putin also reiterated Russia’s baseless claims that Ukraine was preparing to use a “dirty bomb” containing radioactive material. Western leaders see the accusation as false and as a potential excuse for Russia to escalate the war through its own use of the weapon.

In previous speeches, Putin has often said he is prepared to use “all available means,” suggesting Russia has a vast nuclear arsenal, but he insisted on Thursday that Russia has never publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons, and there is no need to do so in Ukraine.

Putin repeated his false accusations of state-backed “Nazism” in Kyiv and insisted the US can end the war. “Those who implement policies in Washington can quickly resolve the Ukraine issue through diplomacy,” he said. “They just need to send a signal to Kyiv to change their attitude and fight for peace talks.”

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