Putin denies starting ‘military operations’ in Ukraine

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The Kremlin leader launched a “special military operation” in his neighbouring country in February this year. He today claimed this did not mark the “start” of the ongoing conflict.

Putin was speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok.

He told those gathered that rather than “start” the war, he had instead worked to end the operations which began in 2014, after a Ukrainian “coup” resulted in an “illegitimate regime”.

Around six months ago, he told the people of Russia the campaign was necessary in order to “de-militarise” and “de-Nazify” this regime.

The former KGB agent also argued that Russia has lost nothing, and will not lose anything as time goes on.

Sam Kiley, Senior International Correspondent at CNN, responded to the Kremlin leader’s claims arguing that they were “typical” of Moscow’s propaganda.

He told the network: “It’s ludicrous and typical of the sort of propaganda that the Putin regime is putting out…

“It is very difficult to see where Russia hasn’t lost.”

Mr Kiley joked: “I’d love to hear where [Putin] thinks [Russia] might have gained.”

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Canadian diplomat Bob Rae added in a post on Twitter: “A leader whose own country has lost tens of thousands of soldiers in battle, and has in turn killed thousands more, cannot say that he and Russia ‘have lost nothing’.

“He, and his supporters, have lost everything.”

Putin told those at the economic conference: “We have not lost anything and will not lose anything.

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“Of course, a certain polarisation is taking place, both in the world and within the country.

“But I believe that this will only be beneficial, because everything that is unnecessary, harmful and… prevents us from moving forward will be rejected.”

He added that it would be “impossible” to isolate Russia.

The West was quick to apply a large range of heavy sanctions on the country after Putin announced his “special military operation”.

But Moscow’s economy has fared far better than many expected and is circumventing sanctions by increasing trade with nations which it deems more “friendly”.

This includes importing equipment being used in the conflict in Ukraine, which Kyiv is itself largely receiving from the West, while stocks last.

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