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Putin blames West for Ukraine war in New Year's address to nation

Dec. 31 (UPI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin used his annual New Year’s address on Saturday to accuse the West of lying about peace and leveraging the invasion of Ukraine to sow discord.

While Putin usually delivers his New Year’s address in front of the Kremlin, this year he made the speech from a military headquarters with soldiers pictured in the background.

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“It was a year of difficult, necessary decisions, the most important steps toward gaining full sovereignty of Russia and powerful consolidation of our society,” he said, repeating his oft-stated contention that Moscow had no choice but to send troops into Ukraine because it threatened Russia’s security.

“The West lied about peace, but was preparing for aggression, and today it admits it openly, no longer embarrassed. And they cynically use Ukraine and its people to weaken and split Russia,” Putin said.

He thanked the soldiers who have fought so far.

Putin also decried the extensive sanctions that have been implemented by Europe and the United States after the invasion.

“This year, a real sanctions war was declared on us. Those who started it expected the complete destruction of our industry, finances, and transport. This did not happen, because together we created a reliable margin of safety,” he said.

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The Russian leader’s speech comes as Russia launched a new New Year’s Eve wave of attacks on Kyiv on Saturday. One person was killed and 20 were injured.

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Firefighters conduct work while smoke rises from a building after it was attacked by Russian drones in Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 17, 2022. Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko/UPI | License Photo
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