..Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to update Russia's elite on the war in Ukraine and his aims for the second year of his invasion on Tuesday, 21 February, nearly one year to the day since his 'military exercise' that triggered Europe's Biggest Crisis Since World War II.
"We were doing everything possible to solve this problem peacefully, negotiating a peaceful way out of this difficult conflict, but behind our backs a very different scenario was being prepared," Putin said, BBC said.
“I would like to repeat, they (the West) started the war, and we used the force in order to stop it,” Putin said.
Putin's speech also comes a day after United States President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine's capital of Kyiv and promised to stand with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy as long as it takes.
Referring to the "referendums" Russia carried out in annexed Ukranian territory, Putin said, "I would like to express a special gratitude to the citizens of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions...Next to you there were military actions taking place, and you made the choice to be together with Russia. To be together with your motherland."
Former president and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, finance minister Andrei Siluanov and many others are gathered in Moscow's Gostiny Dvor hall amongst Russia's top brass.
Biden's Surprise Kyiv Visit
The address will focus on the "special military operation" in Ukraine, and will see Putin provide an analysis of the global geo-political situation and discuss his vision for Russian development following severe sanctions from the West.
Meanwhile, speaking in Kyiv, Biden promised increased arms deliveries for the Ukrainians and vowed the US' "unflagging commitment" in defending the region's teritorial integrity.
Russia's military invasion in Ukraine is one of the largest stakes places by a Kremlin chief since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the West has remained firm in their resolve that Putin "must lose."
While Russia claims that it is locked in an existential battle with the West who allegedly want to carve Russia up for its vast natural resources, a narrative has been rejected, the West says that NATO's eastward expansion is no justification for an 'imperial-style land grab.'
The aftermath of the conflict saw tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers who have tragically lost their lives on both sides, leaving a trail of destruction, reducing entire cities to rubble, and forcing millions of people to flee their homes as refugees.
The Russian government claims that it has annexed almost one-fifth of Ukraine's territory, while the Western nations have vowed to support Kyiv by offering tens of billions of dollars in military aid.
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