Thursday 8 December 2022 - 09:16

Putin: Russia's Military Operation in Ukraine Could Take a Long Time

Story Code : 1029132
Putin: Russia
In televised comments in a meeting with the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights on Wednesday, Putin addressed questions about the duration of hostilities that escalated in late February between Moscow and Kiev.

“Of course, this might be a lengthy process,” Putin said, adding that Moscow had little choice but to intervene in February, to defend the Donbas republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

“These new territories are a major gain for Russia,” the president said. “Even Peter the Great sought access to the Azov Sea, and it is now an internal sea of the Russian Federation.”

“Most importantly, the people who live there showed in a referendum that they want to be in Russia and feel themselves part of our world,” Putin said. “They are now with us, millions of them, and that is the greatest outcome.”

Putin also spoke about the risk of a nuclear war but added that Russia has not “gone mad” and sees its own nuclear arsenal as a purely defensive deterrent.

Warning that the threat of nuclear war in the world is rising, Putin said Russia will defend itself and its allies “with all the means we have if necessary.”

Putin said it was the United States, not Russia, that had deployed “tactical” nuclear weapons in other countries.

The president complained that Western rights organizations viewed Russia as “a second-class country that has no right to exist at all.”

“This is what we are dealing with,” Putin said. “There can be only one answer from our side - a consistent struggle for our national interests. We will do just that. And let no one count on anything else.”

“Yes, we will do this in various ways and means. First of all, of course, we will focus on peaceful means, but if nothing else remains, we will defend ourselves with all the means at our disposal.”

The president said the “special operation” in Ukraine could be a “long process.”

Putin was responding to comments by a member of the rights council who said Ukrainian forces were shelling residential areas of the Russian-controlled Donetsk region. The president warned results could be a long time coming.