Putin’s state of the nation speech: What exactly did he say?

President Putin blames the West and Ukraine for the war he ordered a year ago.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has delivered a state of the nation speech in the Russian capital, Moscow, assessing the invasion of Ukraine he ordered a year ago.

Here are highlights from his address delivered on Tuesday to members of both houses of parliament, military commanders and soldiers:

‘Russia is suspending its participation’ in the New START treaty

“I am forced to announce today that Russia is suspending its participation in the strategic offensive arms treaty.”

The New START treaty was signed in Prague in 2010. It came into force the following year and was extended in 2021 for five more years after United States President Joe Biden took office.

It caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy, and the deployment of land and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, with close to 6,000 warheads, according to experts. Together, Russia and the United States hold about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads – enough to destroy the planet many times over.

‘A watershed moment for our country’

“I am making this address at a time which we all know is a difficult, watershed moment for our country, a time of cardinal, irreversible changes around the world, the most important historic events that will shape the future of our country and our people, when each of us bears a colossal responsibility.”

Western nations trying to ‘distract people’s attention’

“They just tried to use these principles of democracy and freedom to defend their totalitarian values and they tried to distract people’s attention from corruption scandals … from economic-social problems.”

‘Responsibility is on West and Ukrainian elite’

“The responsibility is on the West and the Ukrainian elite and government, which does not serve the national interest, but [rather serves the interest] of third countries [which] use Ukraine as a military base to fight Russia.

“The more they send weapons to Ukraine, the more we will have the responsibility of the security situation at the Russian border. This is a natural response.”

‘We don’t fight the Ukrainian people’

“We don’t fight with the Ukrainian people. They became hostages of the Kyiv regime that occupied Ukraine both economically and politically. Over years, they were doing everything to bring this degradation … They are using their people, it’s sad but true.”

Donbas subjected to ‘undisguised hatred’

“Step by step, carefully and consistently, we will resolve the tasks facing us. Since 2014, the (people of the) Donbas had been fighting, defending their right to live on their own land, to speak their native language.

“They fought and did not give up in the conditions of blockade and constant shelling, undisguised hatred on the part of the Kyiv regime. They believed and expected that Russia would come to their rescue.

“Meanwhile, we did our best to solve this problem by peaceful means. We patiently tried to negotiate a peaceful way out of this most difficult conflict, but a completely different scenario was being prepared behind our backs.”

‘Reviving enterprises and jobs’ in occupied Ukrainian lands

“We have already begun and will continue to build up a large-scale programme for the socioeconomic recovery and development of these new subjects of the federation (territory annexed from Ukraine). We are talking about reviving enterprises and jobs in the ports of the Sea of Azov, which has again become an inland sea of Russia, and building new modern roads, as we did in Crimea.”

‘I understand how unbearably hard it is’ for families of killed soldiers

Putin said he understood how difficult it was for relatives of Russian soldiers who had died fighting in Ukraine, and promised “targeted support” with a new special fund.

“We all understand, I understand how unbearably hard it is now for the wives, sons, daughters of fallen soldiers, their parents, who raised worthy defenders of the Fatherland.”

‘Child abuse all the way up to paedophilia … advertised as the norm’ in the West

“They distort historical facts and constantly attack our culture, the Russian Orthodox Church, and other traditional religions of our country,” Putin said of Western nations supporting Ukraine.

“As it became known, the Anglican Church plans to consider the idea of a gender-neutral God … Millions of people in the West understand they are being led to a real spiritual catastrophe.

“Look at what they do to their own people: the destruction of families, of cultural and national identities and the perversion that is child abuse all the way up to paedophilia, are advertised as the norm … and priests are forced to bless same-sex marriages.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies