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By arrangement with the Arabian Post President Putin is exuding confidence in achieving Russian aims in Ukraine war


Set to get his fifth term in 2024 elections, The 71 year old leader expecting turn around next year

By Girish Linganna


On Thursday (December 14, 2023), the President of Russia conducted his first end-of-year news conference since the commencement of the conflict in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin stated that he still has unchanged goals in Ukraine and will continue to pursue them until there is peace.


The event took place shortly after Putin's announcement of his intention to participate in the 2024 presidential election. Given his strong position, it is widely expected that the 71-year-old leader will secure a fifth term, extending his time in power until 2030. This victory would further solidify his position as president, with a total of 24 years in office.


While last year saw the cancellation of the traditional annual press conference, this year's event offered invaluable insights into the geopolitical shifts and Russia's goals. It reflected Putin's strong position amid various challenges and expanding ties.


It is worth noting that, last year, Putin broke tradition and cancelled the annual press conference. This decision marked the first time in a decade that he did not hold the conference. However, this year's press conference covered key topics, such as the ongoing fighting in Ukraine, the issue of payments to soldiers and their families, and the state of the . These themes formed the core focus of the event.


The press conference provided an opportunity for Putin to address concerns regarding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and to outline his goals for the region. During the public Q&A session, President Putin expressed his view that peace in Ukraine could be achieved through de-Nazification, demilitarization and establishing a neutral status for the country. This viewpoint has consistently been expressed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.


Putin revealed that there were currently around 617,000 Russian soldiers deployed in Ukraine, with approximately 244,000 called up to fight alongside the professional Russian military forces. However, he stated that there was no immediate need for further mobilization of reservists. Putin also revealed that around 486,000 individuals had voluntarily signed up as contract soldiers in addition to the 300,000 people called up last year. He emphasized that the flow of new recruits was not diminishing.


Putin also highlighted the tragic situation for Ukrainian troops trying to establish a presence on the eastern bank of the Dniproriver, in the Kherson region. He emphasized the significance of maintaining existing United Nations mechanisms, including the veto power held by permanent members of the UN Security Council.


In terms of Russia's relationship with China, Putin emphasized that the partnership between the two countries had reached its peak level in history. This strategic alliance had solidified their positions as major players in global affairs and allowed for increased cooperation on economic, political and military fronts, he added.


Putin also addressed concerns about the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. He stated that he did not oppose Russian athletes participating, but raised doubts about whether the event aimed to portray Russian sports as in decline. He emphasized the need to carefully examine the conditions set by the International Olympic Committee, as they might exclude top Russian athletes and depict Russian sports as diminishing. This reflects Putin's commitment to maintaining Russia's standing in international sporting events.


The press conference took place against the backdrop of Western countries acknowledging Ukraine's unsuccessful counter-offensive. Reports indicated that the United States was considering pressuring Ukraine to negotiate with Russia or seek a way to freeze the conflict. Furthermore, the Hungary veto has added to Ukraine's challenges. Hungary has reportedly blocked the approval of a $54-billion aid package for Ukraine within the European Union, using this veto as a form of political leverage to express opposition—or disagreement—with the proposed measure.


Disillusionment in the Arab and Muslim regarding the United States' support for Israel in the Gaza war has led to a shift in focus towards Russia and China, who have expressed their commitment to an immediate ceasefire and a two-state solution. Putin's recent visit to the Middle East attracted significant attention, drawing Western pundits to acknowledge the failure of attempts to isolate Russia and its leader. Throughout the special military operation, Russia effectively adjusted to Western sanctions and fostered stronger relationships with countries in the Global South and non-Western regions.


In terms of Russia's economy, Putin acknowledged the impact of international sanctions on the country. However, he highlighted the resilience and adaptability of the Russian economy, which has managed to the storm and continue its development. He emphasized the importance of domestic industries and diversifying the economy to ensure long-term stability and growth.


Putin's press conference also shed light on his stance on international relations. He stressed the significance of maintaining existing United Nations mechanisms, including the veto power held by permanent members of the UN Security Council. This reaffirmed Russia's commitment to its role as a global power and its desire to maintain influence on the international stage.


Overall, Putin's end-of-year press conference provided valuable insights into the geopolitical shifts and Russia's goals. It showcased Putin's strong position as a leader and his determination to pursue Russia's interests, particularly in Ukraine. The event highlighted the challenges faced by Russia in navigating international relations and showcased the country's adaptability in the face of external pressures. (IPA Service)

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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