Putin, in a nine-minute video proven on TV as every Russian time zone area counted down the ultimate minutes of 2022 on Saturday, denounced the West for aggression and accused the international locations of attempting to make use of the battle in Ukraine to undermine Russia.
“It was a 12 months of adverse, essential choices, an important steps towards gaining full sovereignty of Russia and highly effective consolidation of our society,” he stated, echoing his repeated rivalry that Moscow had no selection however to ship troops into Ukraine as a result of it threatened Russia’s safety.
“The West lied about peace, however was making ready for aggression, and at the moment it admits it overtly, now not embarrassed. They usually cynically use Ukraine and its individuals to weaken and break up Russia,” Putin stated. “We now have by no means allowed anybody and won’t enable anybody to do that.”
The Kremlin has muzzled any criticism of its actions in Ukraine, shut unbiased media retailers and criminalized the unfold of any info that differs from the official view — together with diverging from calling the marketing campaign a particular navy operation. However the authorities has confronted more and more vocal criticism from Russian hardliners, who’ve denounced the president as weak and indecisive and known as for ramping up strikes on Ukraine.
Russia has justified the battle by saying that Ukraine persecuted Russian audio system within the japanese Donbas area, which had been partly beneath the management of Russian-backed separatists since 2014. Ukraine and the West says these accusations are unfaithful.
“For years, the Western elites hypocritically assured all of us of their peaceable intentions, together with the decision of probably the most troublesome battle within the Donbas,” Putin stated.
Western international locations have imposed vast sanctions in opposition to Russia, and lots of overseas corporations pulled in a foreign country or froze operations after Moscow despatched troops into Ukraine.
“This 12 months, an actual sanctions struggle was declared on us. Those that began it anticipated the whole destruction of our trade, funds, and transport. This didn’t occur, as a result of collectively we created a dependable margin of security,” Putin stated.
Regardless of such reassurances, New 12 months’s celebrations this 12 months have been toned down, with the same old fireworks and live performance on Purple Sq. canceled.
A few of Moscow’s elaborate vacation lighting shows made cryptic reference to the battle. On the entrance to Gorky Park stand massive lighted letters of V, Z and O – symbols that the Russian navy have used from the primary days of the navy operation to determine themselves.
“Will it make me a patriot and go to the entrance in opposition to my Slavic brothers? No, it won’t,” park customer Vladimir Ivaniy stated.
Moscow additionally introduced plans to carry particular pageant performances for the kids of troopers serving in Ukraine.
The Russian information outlet Meduza, declared a overseas agent in Russia and which now operates from Latvia, on Saturday posted a video of Zelenskyy, who was a massively widespread comic earlier than turning into Ukraine’s president in 2019, performing in a New 12 months’s Day present on Russian state tv in 2013.
Zelenskyy jokes that the cheap glowing wine Sovietskoe Shampanskoye, a well-liked tipple on New 12 months’s, is within the file books as a paradox as a result of “the drink exists however the nation doesn’t.”
Including to the irony, the present’s host was Maxim Galkin, a comic who fled the nation in 2022 after criticizing the navy operation in Ukraine.
Elise Morton contributed to this report from London.