Russian President confirms that Western countries aim to destroy his country

Putin accuses NATO of participating in the war. Zelensky vows to retake Crimea

Ukrainian soldiers dressed in camouflage during battles with Russian troops near Bakhmut. Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin considered that NATO is participating in the conflict in Ukraine through arms supplies, stressing that the goal of Western countries is to destroy the former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, while his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to return Crimea to his country's sovereignty.

Putin said in an interview with the Rossiya 1 television station yesterday that NATO countries are sending tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine, adding that this is an actual participation in the conflict, even if indirectly.

"Western countries have one goal, which is to destroy the former Soviet Union and its main part, the Russian Federation, only then may they accept us into the family of so-called civilized peoples, but only separately, each part alone," Putin said.

"What are we tackling it? We counter the fact that this new world is being created solely for the benefit of one country: the United States. Now that their attempts to rearrange the world in their image after the fall of the Soviet Union have led to the status quo, we must act."

He pointed out that his country has no choice but to take into account NATO's nuclear capabilities because the US-led military alliance seeks to defeat Russia, adding: "When all the major countries of NATO declare that their main goal is to inflict a strategic defeat on us, so that our people suffer as they say, how can we ignore their nuclear capabilities in such circumstances?"

In return, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to restore his country's sovereignty over the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. "This is our land, our people and our history, and with the return of Crimea peace will return to Ukraine, we will return the Ukrainian flag to every corner of Ukraine," Zelensky said in a statement yesterday.

On the ground, the Ukrainian military announced that Russia had launched failed attacks near the village of Yahidny, after the Wagner military group said it had captured the village in eastern Ukraine near an area where fighting is raging.

The General Staff of Ukraine's armed forces said Russia was still concentrating its offensive along the front lines in the entire city of Pakhmut, where the village of Yahidny is located.

The months-long fight for control of Bachmot, whose population has shrunk from 70,5000 to <>,<>, has seen some of the most exhausting since the war began in February last year.

The deputy head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Vadim Skibitsky, said that the Ukrainian armed forces will be ready to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces in the spring, and the exact timing of the attack depends on several factors, including Western arms shipments, which play a very important role in arming Ukraine, adding: "We will only stop when our country returns to us, in accordance with the internationally recognized borders of 1991. This is our message to Russia and to the international community."

Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Europe would always stand by Ukraine and provide it with more heavy military equipment.

Marin added, according to the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, that Ukraine will win with the help of its Western partners, and Ukraine awaits a bright future as a member of the European Union and NATO, stressing that Russia will lose this war.

Finland confirms that Ukraine will join the European Union and NATO in the future.