West playing with ‘stacked deck’ – Putin
Western countries were “playing with a stacked deck” while simulating diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Donbass as its population was being attacked by Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
Speaking during his annual address to the Federal Assembly, Russia’s main legislative body, the president noted that Western countries had admitted that the 2014-2015 Minsk agreements, meant to pave the way for peace in Ukraine by granting the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics special status, were nothing more than “a diplomatic spectacle, a bluff.”
“They are almost proud of and revel in their treacherousness… The entire time as Donbass was burning and blood was being spilled, while Russia sincerely sought... a peaceful solution, they were playing with people’s lives. They were playing, as they say in certain circles, with a stacked deck,” Putin stated.
The Russian leader accused the West of using this “despicable method of deceit” during campaigns in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. “They will never clear themselves of this disgrace,” Putin asserted, adding that as former colonial powers, Western nations had grown accustomed to believing that they could get away with anything.
Last December, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged that the Minsk agreements were “an attempt to give Ukraine time” so that its army could become stronger, echoing an earlier confession by former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko. The revelation was also confirmed by ex-French President Francois Hollande.
Russia citied Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements when sending troops into Ukraine in February 2022. Last autumn, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, along with Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, voted overwhelmingly to join Russia in public referendums.