Vladimir Putin has attributed the conflict in Ukraine to the West.
He continued by saying that Russia used force “to stop it” in response.
The Russian president claimed that Ukraine was in discussions with the West regarding weaponry before Russia invaded the nation on February 24, 2018, in a speech outlining his goals as the first anniversary of the conflict draws near.
Putin also declared that Russia was pulling out of a crucial nuclear agreement with the US that places restrictions on their respective strategic nuclear arsenals.
“I would like to repeat, they started the war and we used force in order to stop it,” he said in his state of the nation address on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
The Russian leader said Kyiv held talks with the West about weapons supplies before the “special military operation”, as Moscow calls it, began.
“I would like to emphasise when Russia tried to find a peaceful solution they were playing with the lives of people and they were playing a dirty game,” he said.
Putin said Russia decided to “protect its people and history” by conducting a “special military operation step-by-step”. He also warned that Moscow will “continue to resolve the objectives that are before us”.
His speech came a day after US President Joe Biden made his first visit to Ukraine since the Russian invasion, as Washington pledged $500m worth of military aid to Kyiv.