RUSLAND VALT OEKRAINE AAN: REACTIE VAN MINISTER HOEKSTRA
Minister Hoekstra van Buitenlandse Zaken: ‘Nederland veroordeelt de Russische aanval op Oekraïne ten scherpste. Het is een oorlogsdaad waarvoor Rusland een zware prijs zal betalen. Nederland staat in nauw contact met EU- en NAVO-partners.’
De situatie in Oekraïne
In de nacht van 23 op 24 februari 2022 vielen Russische strijdkrachten Oekraïne binnen. Dit gebeurde nadat president Poetin een ‘speciale militaire operatie’ in de Donbas aankondigde. In verschillende steden in het oosten en zuiden van Oekraïne worden explosies gerapporteerd en raketinslagen in de hoofdstad Kyiv. Ook zijn er berichten van een landingsoperatie vanaf zee.
Advies aan Nederlanders
Reis niet naar Oekraïne. Bent u in het land? Verlaat het land op eigen gelegenheid als dit veilig kan. Kan dit niet, zoek dan een veilige plaats. Van evacuatie door de Nederlandse overheid is geen sprake. Bent u in Oekraïne? Laat uw familie en vrienden weten hoe het met u gaat. Volg altijd de instructies op van de lokale autoriteiten. Lees het reisadvies voor Oekraïne.
Bent u in Oekraïne en heeft u een consulaire hulpvraag? Het contactcentrum van Buitenlandse Zaken is 24 uur per dag bereikbaar op het nummer +31 247 247 247.
De situatie is onduidelijk en de ontwikkelingen volgen elkaar snel op. Meer informatie volgt op de pagina Rusland en Oekraïne.
WHY HAS RUSSIA INVADED UKRAINE AND WHAT DOES PUTIN WANT?
9 MAY 2022
Vladimir Putin unleashed the biggest war in Europe since World War Two with the justification that modern, Western-leaning Ukraine was a constant threat and Russia could not feel “safe, develop and exist”.
Thousands of people have since died, towns and cities such as Mariupol lie in ruins and 13 million people have been displaced. But the questions remain: what was it all for and how will it end?
What was Putin’s original goal?
The Russian leader’s initial aim was to overrun Ukraine and depose its government, ending for good its desire to join the Western defensive alliance Nato. After a month of failures, he abandoned his bid to capture the capital Kyiv and turned his ambitions to Ukraine’s east and south.
Launching the invasion on 24 February he told the Russian people his goal was to “demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine“. His declared aim was to protect people subjected to what he called eight years of bullying and genocide by Ukraine’s government. Another objective was soon added: ensuring Ukraine’s neutral status .
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke of freeing Ukraine from oppression while foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin argued “Russia’s future and its future place in the world are at stake”.
Ukraine’s democratically elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said “the enemy has designated me as target number one; my family is target number two”. His adviser said Russian troops made two attempts to storm the presidential compound.
Russia’s leader refused to call it an invasion or a war. Moscow continues to coin Europe’s biggest war since 1945 a “special military operation”.
The claims of Nazis and genocide in Ukraine are completely unfounded but part of a narrative repeated by Russia for years. “It’s crazy, sometimes not even they can explain what they are referring to,” complained Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.
However, an opinion piece by state-run news agency Ria Novosti made clear that “denazification is inevitably also de-Ukrainisation” – in effect erasing the modern state.
And it is Russia that is now accused by the international community of carrying out war crimes. Several countries including the US and Canada go further and call it genocide.
After so much destruction, the Russian leader’s words ring very hollow now: “It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory; we do not intend to impose anything on anyone by force.”
How have Putin’s aims changed?
A month into the invasion, Russia pulled back from Kyiv and declared its main goal was the “liberation of Donbas” – broadly referring to Ukraine’s eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. More than a third of this area was already seized by Russian proxy forces in a war that began in 2014, now Russia wanted to conquer all of it.
The Kremlin claimed it had “generally accomplished” the aims of the invasion’s first phase, which it defined as considerably reducing Ukraine’s combat potential. But it became clear from Russia’s withdrawal that it had scaled back its ambitions.
“Putin needs a victory,” said Andrei Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council. “At least he needs something he can present to his constituency at home as a victory.”
Russian officials are now focused on seizing the two big eastern regions and creating a land corridor along the south coast, east from Crimea to the Russian border. They have claimed control of the southern region of Kherson and a leading Russian general has said they have hopes of seizing territory further west along the Black Sea coast towards Odesa and beyond.
“Control over the south of Ukraine is another way out to Transnistria,” said Maj Gen Rustam Minnekayev, referring to a breakaway area of Moldova, where Russia has some 1,500 troops.
f Russia does capture both eastern regions, it will most likely try to annexe them after a sham vote, as it did with Crimea in 2014. Ukraine also accuses occupying forces in Kherson of planning a referendum on creating separatist entity: they are already introducing Russia’s currency, the rouble, from 1 May.
Capturing Donbas and the land corridor is a mandatory minimum for the Kremlin, warns Tatiana Stanovaya, of analysis firm RPolitik and the Carnegie Moscow Center: “They will keep going. I always hear the same phrase – ‘we have no choice but to escalate’.”
The powerful head of Russia’s security council, Nikolai Patrushev, has spoken of Ukraine disintegrating into “several states”, blaming Ukrainian and Western hatred of Russia.
The question is whether Russian forces have the numbers to press forward. By not declaring this a war, the Kremlin cannot mobilise nationally and military analyst Michael Kofman believes unless that happens Russia’s Donbas offensive is the last it can attempt.
Is there a way out?
There is little sign of any negotiated end to this war in the immediate future.
A few weeks into the war, Russia said it was considering a Ukrainian proposal of neutrality, but there have been no negotiations since the end of March.
President Putin told the UN Secretary General at the end of April “we are negotiating, we do not reject [talks]”, but he earlier declared negotiations at a dead end. After a meeting with the Russian leader, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer gave a very downbeat assessment of a man who had entered into a “logic of war”.
Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky had already accepted that Ukraine would not join Nato: “It’s a truth and it must be recognised.” But after apparent Russian atrocities came to light in Bucha, Mariupol and elsewhere, he made it clear there would be no more talks until Russia withdrew from all territories seized since 24 February.
In its offer of neutrality proposed at the end of March, Kyiv said:
- Ukraine would become a non-aligned and “non-nuclear” state, with no foreign military bases or contingents on its territory
- Strict, legally binding guarantees would require other countries to protect a neutral Ukraine in the event of attack
- Within three days guarantor states would have to hold consultations and come to Ukraine’s defence
- Ukraine would be allowed to join the European Union, but would not enter military-political alliances and any international exercises would require consent of guarantor states
- The future status of Russian-annexed Crimea would be negotiated over the next 15 years
But neutrality for Vladimir Putin was never likely to be enough.
“Ultimately [Putin] wanted to divide the country and I think it’s becoming more evident that’s what he wants,” says Barbara Zanchetta of King’s College London’s Department of War Studies.
While the Kremlin wants to annex some areas of Ukraine, Tatiana Stanovaya believes “much more important is the fate of Ukraine: Putin wants to end Ukraine as a current state”.
How Putin sees Ukraine
Since Ukraine achieved independence in 1991, as the Soviet Union collapsed, it has gradually looked to the West – both the EU and Nato.
Russia’s leader has sought to reverse that, seeing the fall of the Soviet Union as the “disintegration of historical Russia”. He has claimed Russians and Ukrainians are one people, denying Ukraine its long history and seeing today’s independent state merely as an “anti-Russia project”. “Ukraine never had stable traditions of genuine statehood,” he asserted.
It was his pressure on Ukraine’s pro-Russian leader, Viktor Yanukovych, not to sign a deal with the European Union in 2013 that led to protests that ultimately ousted the Ukrainian president in February 2014.
Russia then seized Ukraine’s southern region of Crimea and triggered a separatist rebellion in the east and a war that claimed 14,000 lives.
As he prepared to invade in February, he tore up an unfulfilled 2015 Minsk peace deal and accused Nato of threatening “our historic future as a nation”, claiming without foundation that Nato countries wanted to bring war to Crimea. He has lately accused Nato of using Ukraine to wage a proxy war against Russia.
What’s Putin’s problem with Nato?
For Russia’s leader the West’s 30-member defensive military alliance has one aim – to split society in Russia and ultimately destroy it. In a Victory Day speech on 9 May he accused Nato of launching an active military build-up on territories adjacent to Russia.
Ahead of the war, he demanded that Nato turn the clock back to 1997 and reverse its eastward expansion, removing its forces and military infrastructure from member states that joined the alliance from 1997 and not deploying “strike weapons near Russia’s borders”. That means Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
In President Putin’s eyes, the West promised back in 1990 that Nato would expand “not an inch to the east”, but did so anyway.
That was before the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, so the promise made to then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev only referred to East Germany in the context of a reunified Germany. Mr Gorbachev said later that “the topic of Nato expansion was never discussed” at the time.
And the context in the 1990s was very different, says Barbara Zanchetta: “It was not done as a provocation, there was a partnership for peace.”
Nato maintains it never intended to deploy combat troops on its eastern flank, until Russia annexed Crimea illegally in 2014.
Does Putin have designs beyond Ukraine?
If he has, his military setbacks in Ukraine may have put paid to any wider ambitions beyond its borders. The most immediate threat is to Moldova, which is not part of Nato and has already come under Russian threat.
But President Putin’s ambition to roll Nato back to the late 1990s has taken a hit, with Finland and Sweden looking closely at joining an alliance that now seems as unified as ever. “He has triggered the opposite effect of what he wanted. He wanted to weaken Nato but Nato is now much stronger,” says Barbara Zanchetta.
Nato has warned of a war that could last weeks, months or even years, and said its members need to be prepared for a long haul.
Russia has already punished two Nato members, Poland and Bulgaria, for the West’s support for Ukraine, by cutting off their gas supplies.
Having witnessed Mr Putin’s willingness to lay waste to European cities to achieve his aims, Western leaders are now under no illusion. US President Joe Biden has labelled him a war criminal and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz believes “Putin wants to build a Russian empire… he wants to fundamentally redefine the status quo within Europe in line with his own vision.”
END OF THE ARTICLE
ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE RUSSIAN
24 FEBRUARY 2022
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Citizens of Russia, friends,
I consider it necessary today to speak again about the tragic events in Donbass and the key aspects of ensuring the security of Russia.
I will begin with what I said in my address on February 21, 2022. I spoke about our biggest concerns and worries, and about the fundamental threats which irresponsible Western politicians created for Russia consistently, rudely and unceremoniously from year to year. I am referring to the eastward expansion of NATO, which is moving its military infrastructure ever closer to the Russian border.
It is a fact that over the past 30 years we have been patiently trying to come to an agreement with the leading NATO countries regarding the principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe. In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border.
Why is this happening? Where did this insolent manner of talking down from the height of their exceptionalism, infallibility and all-permissiveness come from? What is the explanation for this contemptuous and disdainful attitude to our interests and absolutely legitimate demands?
The answer is simple. Everything is clear and obvious. In the late 1980s, the Soviet Union grew weaker and subsequently broke apart. That experience should serve as a good lesson for us, because it has shown us that the paralysis of power and will is the first step towards complete degradation and oblivion. We lost confidence for only one moment, but it was enough to disrupt the balance of forces in the world.
As a result, the old treaties and agreements are no longer effective. Entreaties and requests do not help. Anything that does not suit the dominant state, the powers that be, is denounced as archaic, obsolete and useless. At the same time, everything it regards as useful is presented as the ultimate truth and forced on others regardless of the cost, abusively and by any means available. Those who refuse to comply are subjected to strong-arm tactics.
What I am saying now does not concerns only Russia, and Russia is not the only country that is worried about this. This has to do with the entire system of international relations, and sometimes even US allies. The collapse of the Soviet Union led to a redivision of the world, and the norms of international law that developed by that time – and the most important of them, the fundamental norms that were adopted following WWII and largely formalised its outcome – came in the way of those who declared themselves the winners of the Cold War.
Of course, practice, international relations and the rules regulating them had to take into account the changes that took place in the world and in the balance of forces. However, this should have been done professionally, smoothly, patiently, and with due regard and respect for the interests of all states and one’s own responsibility. Instead, we saw a state of euphoria created by the feeling of absolute superiority, a kind of modern absolutism, coupled with the low cultural standards and arrogance of those who formulated and pushed through decisions that suited only themselves. The situation took a different turn.
There are many examples of this. First a bloody military operation was waged against Belgrade, without the UN Security Council’s sanction but with combat aircraft and missiles used in the heart of Europe. The bombing of peaceful cities and vital infrastructure went on for several weeks. I have to recall these facts, because some Western colleagues prefer to forget them, and when we mentioned the event, they prefer to avoid speaking about international law, instead emphasising the circumstances which they interpret as they think necessary.
Then came the turn of Iraq, Libya and Syria. The illegal use of military power against Libya and the distortion of all the UN Security Council decisions on Libya ruined the state, created a huge seat of international terrorism, and pushed the country towards a humanitarian catastrophe, into the vortex of a civil war, which has continued there for years. The tragedy, which was created for hundreds of thousands and even millions of people not only in Libya but in the whole region, has led to a large-scale exodus from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.
A similar fate was also prepared for Syria. The combat operations conducted by the Western coalition in that country without the Syrian government’s approval or UN Security Council’s sanction can only be defined as aggression and intervention.
But the example that stands apart from the above events is, of course, the invasion of Iraq without any legal grounds. They used the pretext of allegedly reliable information available in the United States about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. To prove that allegation, the US Secretary of State held up a vial with white power, publicly, for the whole world to see, assuring the international community that it was a chemical warfare agent created in Iraq. It later turned out that all of that was a fake and a sham, and that Iraq did not have any chemical weapons. Incredible and shocking but true. We witnessed lies made at the highest state level and voiced from the high UN rostrum. As a result we see a tremendous loss in human life, damage, destruction, and a colossal upsurge of terrorism.
Overall, it appears that nearly everywhere, in many regions of the world where the United States brought its law and order, this created bloody, non-healing wounds and the curse of international terrorism and extremism. I have only mentioned the most glaring but far from only examples of disregard for international law.
This array includes promises not to expand NATO eastwards even by an inch. To reiterate: they have deceived us, or, to put it simply, they have played us. Sure, one often hears that politics is a dirty business. It could be, but it shouldn’t be as dirty as it is now, not to such an extent. This type of con-artist behaviour is contrary not only to the principles of international relations but also and above all to the generally accepted norms of morality and ethics. Where is justice and truth here? Just lies and hypocrisy all around.
Incidentally, US politicians, political scientists and journalists write and say that a veritable “empire of lies” has been created inside the United States in recent years. It is hard to disagree with this – it is really so. But one should not be modest about it: the United States is still a great country and a system-forming power. All its satellites not only humbly and obediently say yes to and parrot it at the slightest pretext but also imitate its behaviour and enthusiastically accept the rules it is offering them. Therefore, one can say with good reason and confidence that the whole so-called Western bloc formed by the United States in its own image and likeness is, in its entirety, the very same “empire of lies.”
As for our country, after the disintegration of the USSR, given the entire unprecedented openness of the new, modern Russia, its readiness to work honestly with the United States and other Western partners, and its practically unilateral disarmament, they immediately tried to put the final squeeze on us, finish us off, and utterly destroy us. This is how it was in the 1990s and the early 2000s, when the so-called collective West was actively supporting separatism and gangs of mercenaries in southern Russia. What victims, what losses we had to sustain and what trials we had to go through at that time before we broke the back of international terrorism in the Caucasus! We remember this and will never forget.
Properly speaking, the attempts to use us in their own interests never ceased until quite recently: they sought to destroy our traditional values and force on us their false values that would erode us, our people from within, the attitudes they have been aggressively imposing on their countries, attitudes that are directly leading to degradation and degeneration, because they are contrary to human nature. This is not going to happen. No one has ever succeeded in doing this, nor will they succeed now.
Despite all that, in December 2021, we made yet another attempt to reach agreement with the United States and its allies on the principles of European security and NATO’s non-expansion. Our efforts were in vain. The United States has not changed its position. It does not believe it necessary to agree with Russia on a matter that is critical for us. The United States is pursuing its own objectives, while neglecting our interests.
Of course, this situation begs a question: what next, what are we to expect? If history is any guide, we know that in 1940 and early 1941 the Soviet Union went to great lengths to prevent war or at least delay its outbreak. To this end, the USSR sought not to provoke the potential aggressor until the very end by refraining or postponing the most urgent and obvious preparations it had to make to defend itself from an imminent attack. When it finally acted, it was too late.
As a result, the country was not prepared to counter the invasion by Nazi Germany, which attacked our Motherland on June 22, 1941, without declaring war. The country stopped the enemy and went on to defeat it, but this came at a tremendous cost. The attempt to appease the aggressor ahead of the Great Patriotic War proved to be a mistake which came at a high cost for our people. In the first months after the hostilities broke out, we lost vast territories of strategic importance, as well as millions of lives. We will not make this mistake the second time. We have no right to do so.
Those who aspire to global dominance have publicly designated Russia as their enemy. They did so with impunity. Make no mistake, they had no reason to act this way. It is true that they have considerable financial, scientific, technological, and military capabilities. We are aware of this and have an objective view of the economic threats we have been hearing, just as our ability to counter this brash and never-ending blackmail. Let me reiterate that we have no illusions in this regard and are extremely realistic in our assessments.
As for military affairs, even after the dissolution of the USSR and losing a considerable part of its capabilities, today’s Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states. Moreover, it has a certain advantage in several cutting-edge weapons. In this context, there should be no doubt for anyone that any potential aggressor will face defeat and ominous consequences should it directly attack our country.
At the same time, technology, including in the defence sector, is changing rapidly. One day there is one leader, and tomorrow another, but a military presence in territories bordering on Russia, if we permit it to go ahead, will stay for decades to come or maybe forever, creating an ever mounting and totally unacceptable threat for Russia.
Even now, with NATO’s eastward expansion the situation for Russia has been becoming worse and more dangerous by the year. Moreover, these past days NATO leadership has been blunt in its statements that they need to accelerate and step up efforts to bring the alliance’s infrastructure closer to Russia’s borders. In other words, they have been toughening their position. We cannot stay idle and passively observe these developments. This would be an absolutely irresponsible thing to do for us.
Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us. Of course, the question is not about NATO itself. It merely serves as a tool of US foreign policy. The problem is that in territories adjacent to Russia, which I have to note is our historical land, a hostile “anti-Russia” is taking shape. Fully controlled from the outside, it is doing everything to attract NATO armed forces and obtain cutting-edge weapons.
For the United States and its allies, it is a policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends. For our country, it is a matter of life and death, a matter of our historical future as a nation. This is not an exaggeration; this is a fact. It is not only a very real threat to our interests but to the very existence of our state and to its sovereignty. It is the red line which we have spoken about on numerous occasions. They have crossed it.
This brings me to the situation in Donbass. We can see that the forces that staged the coup in Ukraine in 2014 have seized power, are keeping it with the help of ornamental election procedures and have abandoned the path of a peaceful conflict settlement. For eight years, for eight endless years we have been doing everything possible to settle the situation by peaceful political means. Everything was in vain.
As I said in my previous address, you cannot look without compassion at what is happening there. It became impossible to tolerate it. We had to stop that atrocity, that genocide of the millions of people who live there and who pinned their hopes on Russia, on all of us. It is their aspirations, the feelings and pain of these people that were the main motivating force behind our decision to recognise the independence of the Donbass people’s republics.
I would like to additionally emphasise the following. Focused on their own goals, the leading NATO countries are supporting the far-right nationalists and neo-Nazis in Ukraine, those who will never forgive the people of Crimea and Sevastopol for freely making a choice to reunite with Russia.
They will undoubtedly try to bring war to Crimea just as they have done in Donbass, to kill innocent people just as members of the punitive units of Ukrainian nationalists and Hitler’s accomplices did during the Great Patriotic War. They have also openly laid claim to several other Russian regions.
If we look at the sequence of events and the incoming reports, the showdown between Russia and these forces cannot be avoided. It is only a matter of time. They are getting ready and waiting for the right moment. Moreover, they went as far as aspire to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not let this happen.
I have already said that Russia accepted the new geopolitical reality after the dissolution of the USSR. We have been treating all new post-Soviet states with respect and will continue to act this way. We respect and will respect their sovereignty, as proven by the assistance we provided to Kazakhstan when it faced tragic events and a challenge in terms of its statehood and integrity. However, Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist while facing a permanent threat from the territory of today’s Ukraine.
Let me remind you that in 2000–2005 we used our military to push back against terrorists in the Caucasus and stood up for the integrity of our state. We preserved Russia. In 2014, we supported the people of Crimea and Sevastopol. In 2015, we used our Armed Forces to create a reliable shield that prevented terrorists from Syria from penetrating Russia. This was a matter of defending ourselves. We had no other choice.
The same is happening today. They did not leave us any other option for defending Russia and our people, other than the one we are forced to use today. In these circumstances, we have to take bold and immediate action. The people’s republics of Donbass have asked Russia for help.
In this context, in accordance with Article 51 (Chapter VII) of the UN Charter, with permission of Russia’s Federation Council, and in execution of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, ratified by the Federal Assembly on February 22, I made a decision to carry out a special military operation.
The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kiev regime. To this end, we will seek to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine, as well as bring to trial those who perpetrated numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.
It is not our plan to occupy the Ukrainian territory. We do not intend to impose anything on anyone by force. At the same time, we have been hearing an increasing number of statements coming from the West that there is no need any more to abide by the documents setting forth the outcomes of World War II, as signed by the totalitarian Soviet regime. How can we respond to that?
The outcomes of World War II and the sacrifices our people had to make to defeat Nazism are sacred. This does not contradict the high values of human rights and freedoms in the reality that emerged over the post-war decades. This does not mean that nations cannot enjoy the right to self-determination, which is enshrined in Article 1 of the UN Charter.
Let me remind you that the people living in territories which are part of today’s Ukraine were not asked how they want to build their lives when the USSR was created or after World War II. Freedom guides our policy, the freedom to choose independently our future and the future of our children. We believe that all the peoples living in today’s Ukraine, anyone who want to do this, must be able to enjoy this right to make a free choice.
In this context I would like to address the citizens of Ukraine. In 2014, Russia was obliged to protect the people of Crimea and Sevastopol from those who you yourself call “nats.” The people of Crimea and Sevastopol made their choice in favour of being with their historical homeland, Russia, and we supported their choice. As I said, we could not act otherwise.
The current events have nothing to do with a desire to infringe on the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. They are connected with the defending Russia from those who have taken Ukraine hostage and are trying to use it against our country and our people.
I reiterate: we are acting to defend ourselves from the threats created for us and from a worse peril than what is happening now. I am asking you, however hard this may be, to understand this and to work together with us so as to turn this tragic page as soon as possible and to move forward together, without allowing anyone to interfere in our affairs and our relations but developing them independently, so as to create favourable conditions for overcoming all these problems and to strengthen us from within as a single whole, despite the existence of state borders. I believe in this, in our common future.
I would also like to address the military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people.
I urge you to refuse to carry out their criminal orders. I urge you to immediately lay down arms and go home. I will explain what this means: the military personnel of the Ukrainian army who do this will be able to freely leave the zone of hostilities and return to their families.
I want to emphasise again that all responsibility for the possible bloodshed will lie fully and wholly with the ruling Ukrainian regime.
I would now like to say something very important for those who may be tempted to interfere in these developments from the outside. No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history. No matter how the events unfold, we are ready. All the necessary decisions in this regard have been taken. I hope that my words will be heard.
Citizens of Russia,
The culture and values, experience and traditions of our ancestors invariably provided a powerful underpinning for the wellbeing and the very existence of entire states and nations, their success and viability. Of course, this directly depends on the ability to quickly adapt to constant change, maintain social cohesion, and readiness to consolidate and summon all the available forces in order to move forward.
We always need to be strong, but this strength can take on different forms. The “empire of lies,” which I mentioned in the beginning of my speech, proceeds in its policy primarily from rough, direct force. This is when our saying on being “all brawn and no brains” applies.
We all know that having justice and truth on our side is what makes us truly strong. If this is the case, it would be hard to disagree with the fact that it is our strength and our readiness to fight that are the bedrock of independence and sovereignty and provide the necessary foundation for building a reliable future for your home, your family, and your Motherland.
I am certain that devoted soldiers and officers of Russia’s Armed Forces will perform their duty with professionalism and courage. I have no doubt that the government institutions at all levels and specialists will work effectively to guarantee the stability of our economy, financial system and social wellbeing, and the same applies to corporate executives and the entire business community. I hope that all parliamentary parties and civil society take a consolidated, patriotic position.
At the end of the day, the future of Russia is in the hands of its multi-ethnic people, as has always been the case in our history. This means that the decisions that I made will be executed, that we will achieve the goals we have set, and reliably guarantee the security of our Motherland.
I believe in your support and the invincible force rooted in the love for our Fatherland.
END OF THE STATEMENT OF PUTIN
POETIN, DE EU EN OEKRAINE/VAN CRIMINELEN, DIE CRIMINELEN BESTRIJDEN/[INGEZONDEN STUK]
2 MAART 2022
DE OEKRAINE TRAGEDIE/POETIN EN HET WESTEN/EEN MOOI STEL
VOOR DE BOKKENWAGEN!
25 FEBRUARI 2022
ZIE NOOT 2