Putin claims he was ‘forced’ to invade Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed Thursday that he was “forced” to order military action in Ukraine.
Putin made the comments in a Kremlin meeting with Russian business leaders, according to The Associated Press, calling the invasion a “forced measure” due to Western “intransigence” over security concerns.
“I was surprised that didn’t move a millimeter on any issue,” he said. “They have left us no chance to act differently.”
Tensions in the region have escalated for weeks as Russia has sought to block any potential for Ukraine to join NATO.
But Putin has embarked on a complex disinformation campaign about his incursion, falsely claiming it is entering Ukraine to combat genocide — accusing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has a Jewish background, of Nazism — and likewise seeking to justify the attack by saying it was needed to protect eastern Ukraine from what he called a “regime.”
Putin’s complaints about NATO influence in the region came as he amassed some 190,000 troops along Ukraine’s border with several countries.
Diplomatic talks broke down earlier this week, leaving the U.S. and NATO allies to announce an initial round of sanctions on Tuesday targeting several Russian financial institutions.
“This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Biden said in Tuesday remarks from the White House. “I’m going to begin to impose sanctions … and if Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand prepared to go further.”