Putin explains why he ordered military operation in Ukraine
Russia had no option but to launch its military operation against Ukraine in February 2022, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the country’s Civic Chamber on Friday. The Russian leader reaffirmed his belief that the decision was the right one, despite the difficulties resulting from it.
“We had no other choice,” Putin replied when asked if he would make the same decision again, knowing what the consequences would be. He added that “removing the assault rifle covers” must never be done lightly, but said he had reached the conclusion that military action against Ukraine was unavoidable.
“Why? Because we had already been attacked,” the Russian leader stated, without elaborating.
Putin has repeatedly explained the reasons for Moscow’s military campaign, citing Ukraine’s NATO aspirations and the looming prospect of the US-led military bloc expanding even closer to Russia’s borders as major sources of concern.
He has also stressed the need to protect the people of Donbass and end the nearly eight-year conflict that had raged between local rebels and Kiev’s forces. This was coupled with the increasingly nationalist stance of the Kiev government and its treatment of the Russian-speaking population, with Putin previously explaining the need to “denazify” Ukraine.
At the annual Victory Day Parade in May 2022, Putin described Moscow’s operation in Ukraine as a “preemptive” one, again maintaining that it was “the only right decision.” “Russia gave a preemptive rebuff to aggression,” the president insisted at the time, arguing the move had been “forced” but was the only correct decision that a “sovereign” and “independent” country could have taken.
Kiev has repeatedly claimed that Russian actions were “completely unprovoked.” The US and its allies in Europe and elsewhere have also pinned the blame for the conflict squarely on Moscow, while providing Ukraine with massive military and financial assistance.