Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District on Saturday and recorded a New Year’s message.
In the nine-minute recording – the longest New Year’s speech of Putin’s time in power – Putin said “moral and historical justice is on our side”.
“This year has had really pivotal, decisive events. These events have become this border, the foundation for our common future, our true independence,” he said, alluding to Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
He added: “This is a year in which difficult necessary decisions have been taken, the most important steps towards the full sovereignty of Russia and the consolidation of our society.”
Putin recorded the address at a military base in the city of Rostov-on-Don.
During Saturday’s visit, the Russian leader spoke with army commanders and handed over battle flags to new military formations. He also presented state awards to servicemen who showed “courage and heroism” during what Russia called “special military operations,” the way Moscow described its invasion of Ukraine.
“2022 is coming to an end. 2018 is a year of many things, distinguishing courage and heroism from betrayal and cowardice, showing that there is no higher force than love for family and loved ones, loyalty to friends and comrades, loyalty to the motherland, ’” Putin he said in a message to the nation.
While Russia has been hit by Western sanctions for years, Putin said “a real sanctions war has been declared against us this year”.
“Those who started it expected the total destruction of our industry, finance and transportation. That didn’t happen because together we created a credible margin of safety and everything we did and are doing in this area was designed to strengthen Our sovereignty in the most important area – the economic area,” he continued.
More background: Since Putin began his invasion of Ukraine on February 12, thousands of people have been killed, entire villages destroyed and billions of dollars in infrastructure destroyed. twenty four.
That day, Putin described his attack as a “special military operation.” He has described the ongoing brutality as a “denazification” campaign – a description that historians and political observers have dismissed – and has increasingly portrayed Russia’s unprovoked invasion as a patriotic and almost existential cause .
CNN’s Radina Gigova and Rhea Mogul contributed to this report.