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Vladimir Putin views Russian victory in Ukraine as “inevitable”

MOSCOW: Despite military setbacks in the nearly year-long offensive, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that a Russian victory in Ukraine was “inevitable”.

In televised remarks to workers during a visit to a weapons factory in his home town of St. Petersburg, Putin told workers and reporters: “Victory is assured, I have no doubt about it.”

“The unity and solidarity of the Russian people, the courage and heroism of our fighters and, of course, the work of the military-industrial sector will secure victory,” the Russian leader added.

Putin said Russian arms companies manufactured about the same number of anti-aircraft missiles as the rest of the world combined, and three times more than the United States.

Earlier, he had attended an event with veterans to mark the 80th anniversary of the lifting of the World War Two siege of the city, then known as Leningrad, which Nazi German forces had blockaded for nearly 900 days.

He told the veterans that Russia was fighting in Ukraine to defend ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers, which Moscow says are subject to systematic discrimination in Ukraine.

Kyiv rejects the allegation and says Moscow is using it as a pretext for a naked colonial-style land grab.

“What we’re doing today, including with our special operation, is an attempt to stop this war and protect our people who live on these territories,” said Putin.

“These are our historical territories,” he said – a reference to the fact that large parts of today’s Ukraine were once part of the Russian Empire.

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