West using Ukraine to destroy Russia and we’ll never allow it — President Putin
In a nine-minute message – the longest New Year’s address of his 20 year rule, President Vladimir Putin accused the West of lying to Russia and provoking Moscow to launch what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
In the video message broadcasted on Russian state TV, Putin said Russia was fighting in Ukraine to protect its “motherland” and to secure “true independence” for its people.
Putin said his country would never give in to the West’s attempts to use Ukraine as a tool to destroy Russia.
“For years, Western elites hypocritically assured us of their peaceful intentions,” he said in a speech filmed 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 the combative New Year’s speech.
“The West lied about peace,” Putin said. “It was preparing for aggression … and now they are cynically using Ukraine and its people to weaken and split Russia.
“We have never allowed this, and will never allow anybody to do this to us,”