Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose forces have been battling against Ukraine for nearly 20 months in an attempt to take huge sections of Ukrainian territory, has argued that the conflict is not about territory but about “principles.”
Since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, tens of thousands of people have been slaughtered, entire cities and villages have been destroyed, and billions of dollars in infrastructure has been destroyed. Meanwhile, Russia’s president has attempted, in violation of international law, to annex four Ukrainian districts to add to the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow has controlled since 2014.
However on Thursday, October 5, Putin claimed that “The Ukraine crisis is not a territorial conflict”
” and I want to make that clear. Russia is the world’s largest country in terms of land area, and we have no interest in conquering additional territory,” Putin said at the Valdai Forum in Sochi.
Russia was not “attempting to establish regional geopolitical balance,” in Ukraine. Instead, he said the issue was “about the principles underlying the new international order.”
The denial of these principles, one of which is “a balance in the world where no one can unilaterally force or compel others to live or behave as a hegemon pleases,” according to Putin, is what causes wars.
According to Putin, Western elites “needed an enemy to justify the need for military action and expansion” and turned Moscow into one.
He has previously sought to justify the war by stating that Ukraine’s desire to join NATO posed a grave threat to Russia, that his invasion was a mission to “de-Nazify” Ukraine, and that Ukraine is culturally, linguistically, and politically part of Russia. He has even compared himself to Peter the Great, the Russian ruler of the 18th century.