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Russia had ‘no choice’ against ‘constant threat’ from Ukraine: Putin


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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks about authorising a special military operation in Ukraine's Donbass region during a special televised address on Russian state TV, in Moscow, Russia, February 24, 2022, in this still image taken from video. Russian Pool/via REUTERS TV
Russian President Vladimir Putin in his nationally televised address ahead of launching an offensive against Ukraine, said that he had no other choice but to defend Russia against "threats from modern Ukraine."

Russia has demanded an end to NATO's eastward expansion and Putin repeated his position that Ukrainian membership of the US-led Atlantic military alliance was unacceptable, reports Reuters.


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"Russia cannot feel safe, develop, and exist with a constant threat emanating from the territory of modern Ukraine," Putin said. "All responsibility for bloodshed will be on the conscience of the ruling regime in Ukraine."

The full scope of the Russian military operation was not immediately clear but Putin said: "Our plans do not include the occupation of Ukrainian territories. We are not going to impose anything by force."

Putin in his speech also said that he had ordered Russian forces to protect the people and appealed to the Ukrainian military to lay down their arms.

Putin laid out three conditions that he said could end the standoff, urging Kyiv to renounce its bid to join NATO, to partially demilitarise and to recognise Russia's sovereignty over Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Ukraine long has rejected such demands.

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