MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Western states are using Ukraine both as a battering ram against Russia and as a proving ground, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his Address to the Federal Assembly on Tuesday.
"The responsibility for fueling the Ukrainian conflict, for escalation, for the growing death toll fully lies with the Western elites and of course, the current Kiev regime, for which the Ukrainian people are essentially strangers," Putin said.
"Today’s Ukrainian regime is serving the interests of third states rather than those of its own nation. The West uses Ukraine both as a battering ram against Russia and as a proving ground," Putin said.
According to Putin, "project ‘Anti-Russia’ is actually a part of the revanchist policy regarding our country aimed at setting up hotbeds of instability and conflicts in the approximate vicinity or our borders." "Both then, in the 1930s, and now, the objective is the same, which is to channel aggression to the East. To unleash a proxy war in Europe and get rid of competitors."
"We are not at war with the people of Ukraine. I have already said so many times. The people of Ukraine have become hostages of the Kiev regime and its Western patrons, who have actually occupied the country politically, militarily and economically," the president stressed.
For decades, they destroyed Ukrainian industry and plundered natural resources, Putin noted. The logical outcome was social degradation, a huge increase in poverty and inequality, the Russian leader pointed out. "In such conditions, it’s also easy to find materiel for combat actions. No one thought about the people; they were prepared for slaughter and in the end turned into disposable goods. It’s sad and scary to talk about, but it’s a fact," he said.