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Putin’s Motivations in Ukraine Less Noble Than Principles

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, recently outlined his ideas for a "new world" in a speech at the annual gathering of the Valdai Club. Putin blasted the West for maintaining its "hegemony" in the world and its need for a rival. Additionally, he asserted that Russia is actively trying to end the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and is not acting as the aggressor.

While Putin's rhetoric may paint a picture of Russia as a force for peace, a deeper look at his actions in Ukraine tells a different tale, one in which his own interests may take precedence over his professed values.

IN his speech at the Valdai Club, Putin unleashed a harsh attack on the West's strategy for conducting international affairs. He charged Western nations of upholding a hegemonic position and constantly needing an enemy to defend their activities. While some people may find this criticism to be valid, it is important to question if Putin's own behavior is consistent with his claimed desire for a more just world order.

One of Putin's main points in his address was that his country did not start the war in Ukraine. "We haven't started the 'war' in Ukraine," he declared. Instead, we're working to put a stop to it. This claim is in line with Russia's stated claim that it is not a party to the conflict directly.

However, a closer look at the situation reveals Russia's major political and military assistance for separatist troops in Eastern Ukraine, which seriously calls into question Putin's claim of bringing about peace.

In his speech, Putin directly accused the Kyiv government of starting the crisis in Ukraine almost ten years ago with the backing of Western countries. Putin's narrative ignores the larger backdrop of Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its ongoing support for separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine, even if it is true that the Ukrainian government has seen its fair share of criticism and difficulties.

Putin fiercely refuted the idea that Russia is acting in Ukraine for territorial gain. Instead, he saw the conflict as a battle over the tenets that will guide the emerging global order. He emphasized that long-lasting peace can only be attained when there is a balance of power on a global scale and when everyone feels safe and respected. These ideas may seem admirable, but Russia's behavior in Ukraine paints a different image.

Putin's actions in Ukraine raise the possibility that his intentions go beyond the ideals he frequently espouses in his speeches. Questions about Russia's genuine objectives are raised by its annexation of Crimea, military assistance to separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine, and ongoing efforts to sway Ukrainian politics.

These acts seem to be more in line with territorial aspirations and a desire to keep a foothold in Eastern Europe than they do with the ideals of world peace and respect.


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