Ukraine war: Serbia is shifting closer to Russia – here’s why
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has reminded the world of the West’s colonial policy, plundering of India and Africa, slave trade, and the use of nuclear and chemical weapons by the US, as he slammed them for their “utter deceit” and “double standards” on insisting on a rules-based global order.

Putin made the remarks during a carefully-choreographed formal speech at the Kremlin’s opulent St George’s Hall on Friday, days after the so-called referendums in the Ukrainian regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia that were dismissed as shams by Ukraine and the US-led Western nations.

In his address, Putin said, “All we hear is, the West is insisting on a rules-based order. Where did that come from anyway? Who has ever seen these rules? Who agreed or approved them? Listen, this is just a lot of nonsense, utter deceit, double standards, or even triple standards! They must think we’re stupid.”

Russia is a great thousand-year-old power, a whole civilisation, and it is not going to live by such makeshift, false rules, Putin said in his speech in Russian, the English version of which has been uploaded later on the Kremlin’s official website.

Western elites are even shifting repentance for their own historical crimes on everyone else, demanding that the citizens of their countries and other peoples confess to things they have nothing to do with at all, for example, the period of colonial conquests, Putin said.

“It is worth reminding the West that it began its colonial policy back in the Middle Ages, followed by the worldwide slave trade, the genocide of Indian tribes in America, the plunder of India and Africa…This is contrary to human nature, truth, freedom and justice,” he said.

The European Council in a statement on Friday “firmly” rejected and “unequivocally” condemned the “illegal annexation” of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions by Russia.

By wilfully undermining the rules-based international order and blatantly violating the fundamental rights of Ukraine to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, core principles as enshrined in the UN Charter and international law, Russia is putting global security at risk, it said.

Putin, in his speech, asserted that it was the so-called West that “trampled” on the principle of the “inviolability of borders”, and now it is deciding, at its own discretion, who has the right to self-determination and who does not, who is unworthy of it.

“It is unclear what their decisions are based on or who gave them the right to decide in the first place. They just assumed it,” he said.

The 15-nation UN Security Council voted on Friday on the draft resolution on Illegal So-Called Referenda in Ukraine , hours after Putin signed treaties to annex Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

However, the resolution failed to get adopted as Russia, a permanent UNSC member, vetoed it. It was supported by 10 of the 15 members of the Council, while China, Gabon, India and Brazil abstained.

Hitting out at the US, Putin said America is the only country in the world that has used nuclear weapons twice, destroying the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. And they created a precedent.

“The United States left a deep scar in the memory of the people of Korea and Vietnam with their carpet bombings and use of napalm and chemical weapons,” he underlined.

US President Joe Biden has strongly condemned Russia’s “fraudulent attempt” to annex sovereign Ukrainian territory and accused Moscow of “violating international law, trampling on the United Nations Charter, and showing its contempt for peaceful nations everywhere”.

“Make no mistake: these actions have no legitimacy…We will continue to support Ukraine’s efforts to regain control of its territory by strengthening its hand militarily and diplomatically…,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Biden said the US will rally the international community to both denounce these moves and to hold Russia accountable.

“I urge all members of the international community to reject Russia’s illegal attempts at annexation and to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he said.

Unlike many other leading Western powers, India has not yet criticised Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and it abstained from the votes at the UN platforms in condemning the Russian aggression.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had said that any annexation of a State’s territory by another State resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the Principles of the UN Charter and international law.

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