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Putin to World War II veterans, Leningrad siege survivors: Russia launched a ‘special operation’ to ‘stop the war’ in Ukraine
In a January 18 meeting with World War II veterans and Leningrad siege survivors, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine to stop the war that went on there since 2014.
The meeting took place in St. Petersburg. Video footage of Putin’s remarks was published by TASS. “In essence,” Putin goes on,
full-scale combat operations in the Donbas never stopped since 2014, involving heavy armored equipment, artillery, tanks, and aircraft. All of this was taking place. Everything we do today, including the special military operation, is, as I said more than once before, an attempt to stop this war. This is the meaning of our operation. And also protecting our own people who live on those territories.
According to Putin, Russia considers the Donbas to be one of its historic territories. Although it had “come to terms” with leaving it to Ukraine after the collapse of the USSR, it could not but “respond” to changes in Ukraine following the 2014 Maidan Uprising and regime change.
The president added that the Russian government had long “put up” with the situation and tried to “negotiate” peacefully, but the Ukrainian side was determined to move the conflict into an “acute and heated phase.” “We had no other options, apart from what we’re doing now,” he said.
In 2015, Putin acknowledged that Moscow was sending to Ukraine “people tasked with solving certain military problems,” claiming they were not part of the regular army.
In December 2021, Russian journalists noticed that a court verdict issued a month earlier in Rostov-on-Don contained references to food deliveries made in 2019 from Russia to “Russian military units” located in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “republics.”
Although the document was promptly removed from the court website, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry qualified this information as proof of Russian military involvement in the Donbas conflict. The Kremlin attributed this information to the court’s “mistake.”
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