Russia: Putin facing ‘internal division’ in the military says expert
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Dasha Navalnaya has recorded an anti-Ukraine war protest video addressing the supporters of her imprisoned father, the opposition leader Alexei Navalny. In the video, the 22-year-old recalls Navaly’s poisoning and the subsequent arrest of her father by Russian security agents.
Navalnaya said: “Two years ago on January 17, 2021, my father Alexey Navalny was unlawfully arrested at the border control at the airport then just as unlawfully prosecuted and imprisoned.
“He was returning to Moscow from Germany where he was undergoing treatment following his assassination attempt.
“On Putin’s orders, a group of FSB workers poisoned him with the nerve agent and combat agent Novichok.
“Despite this understanding all the risks my father still returned to Russia.”
“From the moment the war began Alexey Navalny has been incredibly vocal about condemning the war.
“In all his court speeches, in all the letters he has managed to get he has said and wrote that the war Putin had unleashed is criminal and must be stopped immediately.”
The message ends with a plea by Dasha for Russians to join the campaign to free her father, “Join now! Say no to war! Free Alexey Navalny!”
It comes as Putin said Wednesday that Moscow’s action in Ukraine was intended to stop a “war” that has raged in eastern Ukraine for many years.
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Speaking at a meeting with veterans, Putin said Moscow had long sought to negotiate a settlement to the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas, an eastern industrial region where Russia-backed separatists have battled Ukrainian forces since 2014.
“Large-scale combat operations involving heavy weapons, artillery, tanks and aircraft haven’t stopped in Donbas since 2014,” Putin said.
“All that we are doing today as part of the special military operation is an attempt to stop this war. This is the meaning of our operation — protecting people who live on those territories.”
Putin insisted again that Russia tried to negotiate a peaceful settlement to the separatist conflict before sending in troops, and said “we were just duped and cheated.”
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He described Ukraine’s east as Russia’s “historic territories,” adding that Moscow conceded their loss after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union but had to act to protect Russian speakers there.
Putin has explained his decision to send troops into Ukraine on February 24 by citing a need to protect Russian speakers, as well as to pursue the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine to prevent the neighboring country from posing a threat to Russia. Ukraine and its Western allies have rejected the rationale as a cover for an unprovoked act of aggression.
He attended the meeting with veterans during a visit to St Petersburg for the 80th anniversary of the Red Army breaking the Nazi siege there on January 18, 1943.
The blockade of the city, which was then called Leningrad, lasted nearly 900 days and was only fully lifted in January 1944, marking one of the bloodiest pages of World War II. About 1 million people died in Leningrad during the siege, most of them from starvation.
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