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Russian president Vladimir Putin has defended his decision to invade Ukraine, which he said he was forced into to protect Russia from what he described as western threats.

In a State of the Union address to Russia’s elite, Putin said he had ordered the invasion to “protect Russia and liquidate the neo-Nazi threat” from Ukraine’s government.

His speech contrasts with a highly anticipated centrepiece address by US president Joe Biden in Warsaw, which is expected to highlight two clashing world views and make the case for democracy prevailing in the battle against autocracy.

The Russian president’s speech was intended to mark the first anniversary of the war on Friday and demonstrate Moscow’s resolve in continuing the conflict, despite the failure of its initial blitzkrieg plan and the devastating losses the country has suffered.

Putin said Russia would not abandon its efforts in Ukraine, saying, “step by step, we will accomplish all our tasks carefully and consistently”.

He focused most of his anger on the west, which he said wanted to use Ukraine as a “battering ram” to undermine Russia.

“The concepts of honour, trust, and decency are not for the west. They are used to spitting on the whole world,” Putin said. “Western elites have become a symbol of total, unprincipled lies to their own people. They’re the ones who started the war. We are using force to stop it.”

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Putin, not the west, was to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Nobody is attacking Russia. There’s a kind of absurdity in the notion that Russia was under some form of military threat from Ukraine or anyone else,” Sullivan said on Tuesday.

“If Russia stops fighting the war in Ukraine and goes home, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, and the United States and the coalition stops helping them fight, Ukraine disappears from the map. So I think that kind of tells you everything you need to know about who’s responsible for this war,” Sullivan said.

In his address, Putin said Russia would do everything it could to rebuild Ukrainian areas under its control after it seized them during the invasion’s early days and claimed them for Russia.

He promised to “return long-awaited peace and ensure people’s safety” in the four Ukrainian provinces partly under Russia’s control. Putin also said Russia would set up a state foundation that would support war veterans, as well as the relatives of people killed and wounded fighting in Ukraine.

Putin warned that the west was “making a bet on national traitors” to “break up Russia from within”, but indicated Russia would not increase repression against dissent. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Russia in the past year after the Kremlin banned all criticism of the war and police violently dispersed protests against it.

“We’re never going to be like the Kyiv regime’s witch-hunts,” he said. “We are all proud that our multi-ethnic people has taken a principled position to support the [war] and shown true patriotism.”

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