https://thehill.com/policy/international/598444-defiant-putin-claims-ukraine-invasion-going-to-plan

Three weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSenate passes resolution supporting Putin war crime probe Trump says he’s ‘surprised’ Putin ordered Ukraine invasion Lawmakers back Biden on potential economic penalties for China  MORE said on Wednesday that his special military operation was “going to plan.”

“Behind the hypocritical talk and today’s actions of the so-called collective West are hostile geopolitical goals. They just don’t want a strong and sovereign Russia,” Putin said, claiming his country would achieve its goals in Ukraine and would not submit to what he referred to as Western efforts to achieve global dominance, Reuters reported.

“In the foreseeable future, it was possible that the pro-Nazi regime in Kyiv could have got its hands on weapons of mass destruction, and its target, of course, would have been Russia,” Putin said in his televised address to government ministers.

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He asserted that the West wanted to make Russia a “weak dependent country; violate its territorial integrity; to dismember Russia in a way that suits them,” adding that if the West believed Moscow would back down “they don’t know our history or our people.”

“The question of principle for our country and its future – the neutral status of Ukraine, its demilitarization, and its denazification – we were ready and we are ready to discuss as part of negotiations,” Putin said. 

The Russian president also made his most direct nod to how much sanctions have hurt the Russian economy. 

“The West doesn’t even bother to hide that their aim is to damage the entire Russian economy, every Russian,” he also added.

But on Wednesday, both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke of possible progress on peace talks in Moscow’s invasion.

After three weeks of enduring Russia’s unprovoked attacks, Zelensky said that peace talks were beginning to “sound more realistic,” and Lavrov said there was “some hope of reaching a compromise.” 

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