ST. PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine is a decision by a sovereign country, based on the right to defend its security, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the plenary meeting of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday.
"In the current situation, against a backdrop of soaring risks and threats, Russia’s decision to conduct a special military operation was a forced one. It was very hard to make it, but it was forced and necessary. It was a decision by a sovereign country that has an unconditional right based on the UN Charter to defend its security," Putin said.
He added that it was also "a decision aimed at protecting our citizens, the residents of the people's republics of Donbass, who had for eight years been exposed to genocide by the Kiev regime and the neo-Nazis, who enjoyed the full patronage of the West."
The West "not only sought to implement the 'anti-Russia' scenario, but also conducted an active military development of the Ukrainian territory. It literally pumped weapons and military advisers into Ukraine, and it continues to do this now."
"To be honest, no one pays any attention to the development of the economy, to the well-being of the people living there. They just don’t give a damn about it. In the meantime, they did not spare money on creating a NATO stronghold in the East, directed against Russia and on cultivating aggression, hatred and Russophobia," Putin stressed.
He pointed out that, in general, the modern world "is going through an era of fundamental changes."
"International institutions are collapsing and security guarantees are being devalued. The West has emphatically refused to fulfill its earlier obligations. It has turned out to be simply impossible to reach any new agreements with it," Putin concluded.