As Russia unleashed a new round of missiles on Ukraine Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin raged against the West for trying to split Russia and promised to keep expanding the war. Speaking to soldiers in the Southern Military District headquarters for the staff situated in Russia's south-western Russian city of Rostov-onDon, Putin declared:
It was a year that witnessed significant, crucial, and defining happenings.
They are now the frontiers that lay the foundation for our collective future, our real independence. We fight for now and protect our people on our ancestral territories and in the newly created territories in Russia. Russian Federation.
The speech was recorded and broadcast at midnight across all of the nation's eleven time zones.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February. In spite of predictions of a rapid Russian Federation victory, the war has raged on resulting in the deaths of around 100,000 Russian soldiers. The U.S. and its Western allies responded with a series of measures against Russia's Soviet Union, sending billions of dollars of assistance to Ukraine. Putin has accused his adversaries of trying to undermine his country:
The West is lying about peace while planning for an attack. They are manipulating Ukraine and its inhabitants to weaken and divide Russia. We have not allowed anyone to do that and will not permit this to happen again.
Rumors of health difficulties, a coup, and a string of unconfirmed deaths of oil oligarchs as well as Putin critics have been a source of confusion for the year of the Russian strongman. Incredibly, Vlad believes that all of this will lead to a more peaceful society:
“2022 was a year of difficult, necessary decisions, the most important steps towards gaining full sovereignty of the Russian Federation and powerful consolidation of society,” said the president.
“This is the year that put many things in their proper place, clearly separated courage and heroism from betrayal and cowardice, and showed that there is no higher power than love for one's family and friends, loyalty to friends and comrades-in-arms, and devotion to one's motherland.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky responded in his very own new year's message in which he blasted Putin:
“This conflict you're fighting, Russia is not associated with NATO the way your propagandists claim. It's not because of historic reasons” Zelensky said. “Your leader wants to demonstrate that the military is behind his back and that he's on the front. But he's just trying to hide. He hides behind military infiltration, behind missiles, and in the walls surrounding his homes and castles.”
“He is hiding in your back and burns down your future and your country. There is no way anyone will forget this heinous act,” he continued. “Ukraine will never forgive.”
While Putin recently stated that he was willing to discuss the peace of his country, his behavior proved that he is not. This tense, aggressive speech doesn't bode well for the possibility of a swift resolution to this saga. Putin himself appeared old and bitter and it's hard not to think that some of the health-related rumors are real, and he might be suffering from megalomania caused through cancer-related drugs.