Russian President Vladimir Putin took some familiar swipes at the US and its allies during a speech on Thursday, accusing “Western elites” of playing a “dangerous, bloody and dirty game” and seeking to blame them for much of the world’s trouble, including his own invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at the Valdai Club discussion forum in Moscow, he denied that Russia had considered using nuclear weapons against Ukraine, saying Moscow had never “intentionally said anything” about it, but added that as long as nuclear weapons exist, there is always the danger of their use.
“We never intentionally said anything about the possibility of using nuclear weapons by Russia. We only responded with hints to (nuclear threats from) from Western leaders,” Putin said, accusing Western governments, including former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, for engaging in “nuclear blackmail” against Russia.
Putin also accused the West of “forcing the thesis that Russia will use nuclear weapons” to influence neutral countries against Moscow. He stressed that Russia’s military doctrine only allows the use of nuclear weapons for “defense” purpose.
His comments come after Russian officials claimed, without evidence, that Ukraine is considering the use of a “dirty bomb,” which US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has described as “another fabrication and something that is also the height of irresponsibility coming from a nuclear power.”
Blinken reiterated that the US is tracking the Kremlin’s nuclear saber-rattling “very carefully,” but hasn’t “seen any reason to change our nuclear posture.”
In Moscow, the Russian President also blamed Western governments, many of which have offered support to Kyiv in the face of Moscow’s illegal invasion, of seeking global domination and attempting to control the world’s natural resources.
“Power over the world is what the so-called West is banking on in its own game. But this is a dangerous game. It’s a bloody game and it’s a dirty game. It denies all the sovereignties of countries, and their uniqueness, it doesn’t take into consideration the interests of other countries,” Putin said.
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Putin went on to accuse the West of “staging … color revolutions” in other countries, “such as the one in Ukraine in 2014,” and claimed Western nations were “losing the upper hand” in global affairs.
He said the world faced the “most dangerous decade” since the end of World War II, while doubling down on his claim that the conflict in Ukraine was unavoidable, blaming the West and NATO enlargement for causing the crisis.
“NATO enlargement with the Ukraine [was] totally unacceptable to us, and everybody knew that, and they ignored. They totally ignored interest in the security area, and a certain try just failed,” he said.
“Russians and Ukrainians are one people historically. It’s almost like civil war happening right now,” he continued.
While the war has cost Russia, it will better for the country in the end, Putin said.
“Of course, we have some problems. First of all, it deals with our losses due to special military operation. I talk about this all the time. But we have economic losses too, but we also have massive gains. What is happening now, without any doubt, and I want to emphasize at the end of the day will be for the good of Russia and it’s future. It’s connected to the strengthening of our sovereignty in every way, and in this case in the economic sphere,” he said.
The Russian president also espoused his socially conservative views: “The West can do whatever they want with gay parades but they shouldn’t dictate the same rules for Russia.” Putin has repeatedly cracked down on same-sex relationships in an effort to uphold what his regime considers traditional family values.
His speech in Moscow came hours after Russian lawmakers agreed to toughen the country’s discriminatory law against so-called same-sex “propaganda,” moving to ban all Russians from promoting or “praising” homosexual relationships or even publicly suggesting that they are “normal.”
The original version of the law adopted in 2013 banned “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors.
The Russian President ended his speech saying that the current situation around the world has the “prerequisites for a revolution.”