Vladimir Putin has blamed the West for starting the war in Ukraine.
He added that Russia responded with force “in order to stop it”.
In a speech describing his aims as the first anniversary of the conflict nears, the Russian president said Ukraine was in talks with the West about weapons before Russia invaded the country on 24 February last year.
Putin also announced that Russia was suspending its participation in a key nuclear treaty with the US which limits the two sides’ strategic nuclear arsenals.
“I would like to repeat, they started the war and we used force in order to stop it,” he said in his state of the nation address on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
The Russian leader said Kyiv held talks with the West about weapons supplies before the “special military operation”, as Moscow calls it, began.
“I would like to emphasize when Russia tried to find a peaceful solution they were playing with the lives of people and they were playing a dirty game,” he said.
Putin said Russia decided to “protect its people and history” by conducting a “special military operation step-by-step”. He also warned that Moscow will “continue to resolve the objectives that are before us”.
His speech came a day after US President Joe Biden made his first visit to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, as Washington pledged $500m worth of military aid to Kyiv.
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