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5 Oct, 2023 14:13

Russia not looking for ‘more territory’ – Putin

The president stressed that the Ukraine conflict is not about expansion
Russia not looking for ‘more territory’ – Putin

The conflict with Ukraine is not driven by territorial ambitions, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted in a speech at the Valdai International Discussion Club on Thursday.

Putin stressed that Russia is already the largest country in the world and therefore is not motivated by seeking new lands. 

He noted that Russia still has a lot of work to do in developing the remote Siberian and the Far Eastern regions.

“This is not a territorial conflict and is not even the establishment of a regional geopolitical balance,” the president said. “This question is much broader and more fundamental. We are talking about the principles of a new world order.”

The Russian leader insisted that a lasting peace can only be established when “everyone feels safe and knows that their opinion is respected.”

Elsewhere in his speech, Putin said that Russia was not the one that initiated the conflict in Ukraine, but is instead trying to put an end to it. 

“We were not the ones who organized a bloody coup in Kiev; it wasn’t us who intimidated the Crimeans and Sevastopol residents with Nazi-style ethnic purges. We weren’t the ones who tried to force the Donbass to obey using shellings and bombings. We were not the ones who threatened violence against those who wanted to speak their native language,” Putin said, stressing that it was Kiev that used tanks and artillery to wage war against the Donbass.

Despite civilians and children being killed in Donbass long before Russia launched its military operation last year, no other countries, especially in the West, paid any attention to this or shed any tears for them, the president said.

“The war started by the Kiev regime with the active, direct support of the West is now in its tenth year,” Putin noted. “The special military operation is aimed at stopping it.”

The four-day 20th anniversary meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club has been taking place in Sochi since October 2. The end of the forum is marked by a plenary session. Its participants include politicians, scientists, and social activists, including foreign guests.