'Europe creating new Iron Curtain and we want a new world' - Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Europe is "creating a new Iron Curtain" with his country, as Moscow faces unprecedented isolation and huge sanctions over the Ukraine conflict.

"Europe is fencing itself off from us and creating a new Iron Curtain," Putin said. "We are not the ones shutting the door. It's Europe that's shutting the door."

Speaking during a question-and-answer session at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Putin added that Russia's mission was to create a "new world." Putin has portrayed Russia's full-scale military activities in Ukraine - which began in February 2022 - as part of a long-standing confrontation with the West.

"We are tasked, essentially, with building a new world," Putin said, stating that a global "hegemony" was the target for the West. "The West always needs an enemy," he said. 

Vladimir Putin delivered his speech at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi. /Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Reuters
Vladimir Putin delivered his speech at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi. /Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Reuters

Vladimir Putin delivered his speech at the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi. /Sputnik/Sergei Guneev/Reuters

Putin insisted the conflict in Ukraine was "not a territorial" one and that Moscow has "no interests from the point of view of conquering some territories."

Russia's army occupies large swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine, and Putin has formally absorbed four Ukrainian regions: Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Lugansk. He has consistently said that Ukrainian territory was historically Russian, and questioned Ukrainian statehood. 

Putin also oversaw the absorption of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014. The longtime leader, who turns 71 this week, blamed Western countries for the conflict, now in its twentieth month.

"The war, which was started by the Kyiv regime with active support from the West, has been going on already for 10 years," he said. "The special military operation was launched to stop it," he said, using Moscow's term for the offensive.


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He also said Russia had successfully tested a potent new strategic missile and declined to rule out the possibility it could carry out weapons tests involving nuclear explosions for the first time in more than three decades. Putin said for the first time that Moscow had successfully tested the Burevestnik, a nuclear-powered and nuclear-capable cruise missile with a potential range of many thousands of miles.

The President, who has repeatedly reminded the world of Russia's nuclear might since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, said no one in their right mind would use nuclear weapons against his country. If such an attack was detected, he said, "such a number of our missiles - hundreds, hundreds - would appear in the air that not a single enemy would have a chance of survival."

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