Putin blames war on Western countries, defends Ukraine invasion in major speech

Article originally appeared on nypost.com.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the West of trying to turn a “local conflict” in Ukraine into a “global confrontation” — as he issued a nuclear warning to Kyiv’s allies in an unhinged speech to his country’s parliament and elites, which signaled no end in sight for the bloody war.

Russia’s defiant 70-year-old leader delivered his rambling address railing against the West just days before the one-year anniversary of Ukraine’s invasion – and a mere 24 hours after President Biden made a surprise visit to Kyiv in a show of support for the embattled country.

Speaking for one hour and 45 minutes below an oversized emblem bearing the two-headed eagle of Russia, Putin vowed to carry on with Russia’s so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine during what he termed a “watershed moment.”

He also sought to justify the war, saying it had been forced on Russia and that he understood the pain of the families of those who had been …

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