Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to the media on Friday following the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Earlier, he met with the leaders of China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Mongolia.
In his first press conference since July, the president was asked about the conflict with the West, the ongoing military operation in Ukraine, and the energy crisis in the European Union, among other things.
Here are some of the key moments from Putin’s press conference.
The West always strived to destroy Russia
Destroying Russia and “disintegrating” it into a number of petty states has always been a top priority for the collective West, the Russian president said. Ukraine, in its modern state, has been selected to become an “anti-Russian enclave” and the main tool to achieve such goals, Putin believes.
“The fact that they’ve always strived for the disintegration of our country is certain. It is only regrettable that at some point they decided to use Ukraine to achieve such goals,” Putin said. “In order to prevent such developments, we have launched the special military operation.”
Attitude towards Ukraine may change
So far, Moscow has demonstrated a very reserved reaction to such actions by the Ukrainian authorities as attempts to target vital infrastructure on Russian soil or stage “terror attacks,” Putin said.
“The special military operation is not a warning of some sort, but a special military operation. We’re witnessing attempts to stage terror attacks, attempts to damage our civilian infrastructure. We respond to this with restraint, but only for the time being,” Putin stated, warning that the approach may change in the future.
“Quite recently, the Russian armed forces delivered a couple of sensitive strikes, let’s say they were a warning. If the situation continues to develop in such fashion, the response will be more serious,” he added.
No change in Ukraine conflict goals
There will be no changes in the goals Russia is striving to achieve with its special military operation in Ukraine, Putin said. “There are no adjustments to the plan. The General Staff makes operational decisions in the course of the campaign as to what is considered a key objective,” the president stated.
“The main goal is the liberation of the entire territory of Donbass. This work continues, despite the attempted counterattacks by the Ukrainian army,” Putin said, adding that it was too early to draw any conclusions from the ongoing counteroffensive by Kiev’s forces, and one should wait to see “how it ends.”
Prospects of peace talks with Ukraine are uncertain