Putin attacks U.S., says Western order collapsing and Ukraine sanctions failed

A defiant Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the Western order was collapsing, dismissing the economic and diplomatic fallout from his invasion of Ukraine in a speech the Kremlin called “extremely important”.

The Russian president offered broad denunciation of the United States and defense of its financial policies, but largely avoided discussing the war in his speech to Russia’s flagship economic forum, which was delayed by an apparent cyberattack.

Putin argued that America’s era of global dominance was over and claimed that “blitzkrieg” sanctions imposed on Moscow’s economy by Washington and its allies had failed.

“The previous world order is over – no matter how hard we try to preserve it, it’s a natural path of history,” he told the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a meeting of annual business launched in 1997 as a Russian alternative to the World Economic Forum. rally in Davos, Switzerland.

A situation with “A strong power with a limited circle of countries [in support]“was “not stable,” he said, adding that it was a mistake for the United States to claim victory in the Cold War and to treat other countries “like colonies. “.

Putin said the war in Ukraine, which he said was launched to protect Russian speakers in the east of the country, was “a sovereign country’s decision based on the right to defend its security”.

“All the objectives of the special military operation will be implemented, there is no doubt about it,” he added.

The United States helped build an alliance to aid Ukraine’s defensive war with military supplies while hitting the Russian economy with harsh sanctions. Putin said his country was resisting those efforts and pointed to rising inflation in energy prices and costs across the West as evidence that those sanctions had backfired.

Costs were rising in the West “long before we launched the special military operation in Donbass”, he added, mocking the idea of ​​”Putin’s price hike” and sticking to the idea. its own narrow definition of war that has now resulted in nearly four months of death and destruction for Russia’s democratic neighbor.

As he spoke, Russian forces continued their attacks on towns in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, an offensive that saw troops from Moscow making strenuous gains behind a heavy artillery assault. But even with the advances on the battlefield, the Kremlin suffered another diplomatic setback on Friday as the European Union executive recommended putting Kyiv on a path to joining the bloc.

Ahead of the speech, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin’s speech would be “extremely important”, according to Russian news agency Tass.

But the speech was delayed by more than 90 minutes due to a DDoS attack on the conference, in which hackers flood websites with traffic in an attempt to disrupt their operations or take them offline, according to Peskov.

Since major DDoS attacks are usually carried out with a large number of hacked devices all visiting the same site in unison, it is usually impossible to say with certainty who is responsible.

But the IT Army of Ukraine, an international group of volunteer hackers backed by the country’s digital transformation minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, encouraged its members to attack the event in a post on its Telegram channel.

Forum organizers said 13,500 people from 141 countries attended last year’s forum, which was held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many countries have shunned Russia since it launched a brutal invasion of Ukraine in February, but Egypt is attending the forum this year as a “guest country”.

St. Petersburg has additional significance for Putin. As well as being his hometown, it is named after Peter the Great, the modernizing but militant 18th-century czar to whom Putin favorably compared himself earlier this month.

Reuters and Associated press contributed.

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