Putin says Ukraine matter of life and death for Russia

AFP , Sunday 18 Feb 2024

Events on the battlefield in Ukraine are a matter of "life and death" for Russia that could determine its fate, President Vladimir Putin said in remarks aired Sunday. The Kremlin has repeatedly framed the almost two-year conflict as a battle for Russia's survival in a bid to rally patriotic sentiment among its population, many apathetic toward the offensive.

Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a video address to mark the 31st anniversary of the founding of the National Energy Giant Gazprom at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. AP

 

"I think it is still important for us ourselves, and even more so for our listeners and viewers abroad, to understand our way of thinking," Putin said in an interview with state TV.

"Everything that is happening on the Ukraine front: For them it is an improvement of their tactical position, but for us it is our fate, it is a matter of life and death," he said.

Putin was responding to a question about a two-hour long interview he gave to US talk show host Tucker Carlson, which the Kremlin used to promote its narratives on the conflict.

In that interview, Putin talked at length about Russian history and continuously questioned Ukraine's statehood, drawing ire in both Kyiv and the West.

"For the Western listener, the viewer, it was not easy. Even more so for Americans," Putin said when asked about his long, historical musings in the Carlson interview.

"The history of the United States is 300-odd years, and I started in 862. So I think it was not easy for American audiences to understand," he said.

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