Putin blasts West in 73-minute rant after cyber attack delays speech

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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Vladimir Putin launched a 73-minute tirade against the West on Friday after the speech was delayed due to a suspected cyber attack.

The Russian president accused the West of colonial arrogance and said that “stupid” sanctions, which were imposed as punishment for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, amounted to an economic “blitzkrieg”.

He made the remarks at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, a showcase event this year being held with almost no Western participation.

But his appearance was delayed by an hour after a reported denial of service cyber attack disabled the guest accreditation and admissions system of the conference.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters ahead of the speech that specialists were working to fix the problem, after the attack created a host of issues with accessing the forum.

Starting one hour later than scheduled, Mr Putin told Russia’s political and economic elite: “We are strong people and can cope with any challenge. Like our ancestors, we will solve any problem, the entire thousand-year history of our country speaks of this.”

Vladimir Putin (AP)
Vladimir Putin (AP)

Mr Putin also took the opportunity to reaffirm his determination to continue the “special military operation” in Ukraine that has unleashed what he said was an “unprecedented” barrage of Western economic sanctions.

He said the main aim of the invasion was to defend “our” people in the largely Russian-speaking Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

However, Kyiv and the West has dismissed Mr Putin’s justification as a baseless pretext for a war that has already led to the occupation of parts of southern Ukraine far beyond the Donbas.

“Our special operation on the Donbas is a life buoy for them to blame Russia for their own mistakes,” Mr Putin told the audience.

“In the current situation, against a backdrop of increasing risks for us and threats, Russia’s decision to conduct a special military operation was forced - difficult, of course, but forced and necessary,” he added.

Mr Putin’s 73-minute speech was delayed by one hour (REUTERS)
Mr Putin’s 73-minute speech was delayed by one hour (REUTERS)

The Russian leader also took aim at the US, saying that it considered itself “God’s own representatives on earth”.

He said: “When they won the Cold War, the US declared themselves God’s own representatives on earth, people who have no responsibilities – only interests.

“They have declared those interests sacred. Now it’s one-way traffic, which makes the world unstable.”

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