Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the US for what he called its ‘universal diktat’ on global affairs.
His pronouncements came at the annual Valdai discussion club which unites Russian officials and experts.
He also blamed the West for the conflict in Ukraine and denied accusations of empire building.
“Nobody wanted to listen to us and talk to us,” began Putin. “They (USA / EU) told us ‘that’s not of your business’. This was the discussion. Instead of a comprehensive and civilised dialogue, they took the case until the ‘coup’ threw the country in the chaos, which led to the destruction of the economy and the social sphere, with a civil war and and enormous number of victims.”
Putin went on to say that Russia would not beg to remove EU-US sanctions imposed in response to the crisis in Ukraine, and would seek to strengthen links with its partners in the East. He also called for talks internationally-recognised conditions for use of force.
Throughout the speech he lashed out at the United States as the ‘so-called victors of the Cold War’, accusing them of playing a role in sponsoring Islamic extremism. He cited the example of Washington’s funding of the Mujaheddin in the Afghan-Soviet war, saying America’s weapons were then turned against them with the growth of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
The speech, heavy with Cold War references, included some of the leader’s most fierce anti-West rhetoric since he came to power.