“We lost nothing in Ukraine, Russia won”, says Putin

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President Vladimir Putin declared on Wednesday that Russia has lost nothing in a confrontation with the United States over the conflict in Ukraine. But it actually won by setting a new sovereign course that would restore its global influence.

Putin increasingly regards the conflict in Ukraine, which he calls a “special military operation,” as a turning point in history, when Russia finally shed the humiliations that accompanied the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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In an attempt to emphasize Russia’s penchant for Asia, Putin, speaking to the Eastern Economic Forum in the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok, said the West was failing while Asia was the future.

In his keynote speech, Putin barely mentioned Ukraine other than a reference to grain exports, but when asked by a moderator if anything had been lost from the conflict, Putin said Russia had won and would emerge refreshed and free of obstacles.

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“We have lost nothing and we will not lose anything,” said Putin, Russia’s supreme leader since 1999. “Everything that is unnecessary, harmful and everything that prevents us from moving forward will be rejected.”

“In terms of what we have achieved, I can say that the main gain was the strengthening of our sovereignty, and that is the inevitable result of what is happening now,” Putin said. “This will end up strengthening our country from within.”

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbor’s military capabilities and eradicate people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces mounted strong resistance. Neither side disclosed how many soldiers were killed.

Putin, who turns 70 in October, told the West in July that he was just getting started in Ukraine and challenged the United States – which enjoys conventional economic and military superiority over Russia – to try to defeat Moscow. It would, according to him, fail.

Asia is the future

The confrontation with the West over Ukraine has prompted Russia to embark on a hasty tilt towards Asia, and particularly China, once the Soviet Union’s minor partner and now the world’s second-largest economy.

Putin said the West was failing because a futile and aggressive attempt to isolate Russia with sanctions was destroying the global economy at a time when Asia was rising to claim the future.

The United States and its allies have imposed the harshest sanctions in modern history on Russia for its actions in Ukraine. Putin says the sanctions are akin to a declaration of economic war.

“I’m talking about the Western sanctions fever, with its brazen and aggressive attempt to impose role models on other countries, deprive them of their sovereignty and subordinate them to their will,” Putin explained.

“In an attempt to resist the course of history, Western countries are undermining the main pillars of the world economic system built up over centuries,” Putin continued, adding that confidence in the dollar, euro and pound sterling is falling.

Among the guests at the forum was China’s top lawmaker Li Zhanshu, currently ranked third in the Chinese Communist Party. Putin will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping next week in Uzbekistan.

Putin said China would pay Gazprom for its gas in national currencies, based on a 50/50 split between the Russian ruble and the Chinese yuan.

The West’s attempt to economically isolate Russia – one of the world’s biggest producers of natural resources – has propelled the global economy into uncharted waters with soaring food and energy prices.

Putin said Russia’s economy was dealing with what he called financial and technological aggression from the West, but acknowledged some difficulties in some industries and regions.

Source: CNN Brasil

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