Putin’s State of the Union focuses on sovereignty, the West and Ukraine

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In this pool photograph distributed by Russian state agency Sputnik, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience during the Future Technologies Forum at the World Trade Center in Moscow on February 14, 2024.

Alexander Kazakov | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia is united as it faces the threats of “international terrorism” and challenges to its sovereignty posed by the “colonial West” that, he said, was trying to “bring discord to our home.”

“We shall overcome everything together,” Putin said as he introduced his address, according to a BBC feed. He praised Russian citizens, businesses and troops in Ukraine for their efforts in “defending the Motherland.”

The Russian leader led a minute’s silence to honor Russia’s armed forces, then extolled the “colossal” battlefield experience they gained during the two years of fighting in Ukraine.

Putin said Russian forces were on the offensive and were “liberating” new territories in Ukraine, once again repeating unsubstantiated claims that Russia is seeking to overthrow a “Nazi” regime in the country. He added that the West had provoked the conflict in Ukraine, and the Middle East.

The speech is being delivered to around 1,000 lawmakers and officials, faith leaders, diplomats and journalists. As was the case last year, participants in Russia’s “special military operation” (code for war) in Ukraine have also been invited to the event — Putin’s 19th address of its kind.

The topics of the address are not usually revealed ahead of the speech, but Putin said last week that the upcoming message takes into account “the internal political calendar” and will set Russia’s goals for the next six years. His speech comes less than a month before the presidential election on March 15-17 that Putin is expected to win given the lack of non-systemic opposition figures in Russia.

There’s speculation that Putin could use his State of the Nation address on Thursday to make some announcement about Transnistria, potentially even bolstering Russia’s small military presence in the separatist region.

Sumber: www.cnbc.com

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