Russian President Vladimir Putin railed against the West in his long-delayed state-of-the-nation address on Tuesday, a speech expected to set the tone for the year ahead and shed light on how the Kremlin sees its bogged-down war in Ukraine.
Putin has frequently justified his invasion of Ukraine by accusing Western countries of threatening Russia.
They say nothing could be further from the truth, saying that Moscow's forces attacked Ukraine unprovoked.
It's they who have started the war. And we are using force to end it, Putin said in a speech broadcast by all Russian state TV channels.
While the Constitution mandates that the president deliver the speech annually, Putin never gave one in 2022, as his troops rolled into Ukraine and suffered repeated setbacks. Now the address comes days before the war's first anniversary on Friday.
Before the speech, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that the Russian leader would focus on the special military operation in Ukraine, as Moscow calls it, and Russia's economy and social issues.
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