Russia could not let the United States "munch the original Russian territories” in Ukraine. Russia could not just sit and watch it happen, President Vladimir Putin said at the extended meeting of the board of the Russian Ministry of Defence, TASS reports.
"We simply couldn't act differently. Or did we have to give up on it all and just watch them munch everything? [This is] our original Russian [territory]. We couldn't do that,” Putin noted.
The USA has succeeded in "severing” Ukraine from Russia and breaking Moscow's relations with Europe, Putin said.
Russia was the only guarantor to ensure Ukraine's sovereignty and integrity, Putin also said.
"Only Russia could be the guarantor of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. If they don't want to, they don't need to. History will put everything in place. We won't interfere, but we won't give up what's ours,” he said.
During the creation of the Soviet Union, Russia delivered its territories and their population to Ukraine for no reason. Russia also invested huge resources in those regions. In addition, Ukraine's western territories used to belong to Poland, but they were transferred to Kyiv as a result of WWII, Putin said.
The United States deliberately dragged Russia and Europe into the conflict in Ukraine, and Moscow had no other option but to launch the special military operation, Putin said.
"They deliberately dragged us and Europe into this conflict. They have achieved their goal at this point — they brought Russia and Europe apart,” the Russian leader said.
A Russian fighter with call sign Rassvet (Sunrise) destroyed an Abrams tank in the area of Avdiivka, the 15th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade said