By Guy Faulconbridge
MOSCOW (Reuters) – One of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies said on Tuesday that Moscow was now fighting the U.S.-led NATO military alliance in Ukraine and that the West was trying to erase the Russia of the world political map.
Putin presents the war in Ukraine as an existential battle with an aggressive and arrogant West, and said Russia will use all available means to protect itself and its people against any aggressor.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev is seen by diplomats as one of the main hard-line influences on Putin, who has promised victory in Ukraine despite a series of battlefield setbacks.
“The events in Ukraine are not a confrontation between Moscow and Kyiv – it is a military confrontation between Russia and NATO, and above all the United States and Britain,” Patrushev told the Argumenti i Fakti newspaper. in an interview.
“Western plans are to continue to separate Russia, and ultimately to wipe it off the political map of the world,” Patrushev said.
The United States has denied Russian claims it wants to destroy Russia, the world’s biggest producer of natural resources, while President Joe Biden has warned that a conflict between Russia and NATO could spark World War III. world.
Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine sparked one of Europe’s deadliest conflicts since World War II and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the Soviet Union and the United States came closest to intentional nuclear war.
The United States and its Western allies have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an imperial land grab, while Ukraine has vowed to fight until the last Russian soldier is expelled from its territory. territory.
As a former Soviet spy who has known Putin since the 1970s, Patrushev’s views provide insight into thinking at the highest levels of the Kremlin. He pushed back against CIA Director William Burns’ warnings in 2021 against an invasion of Ukraine.
In a Soviet-style analysis of the West, Patrushev presented Western political elites as corrupt and controlled by transnational corporations and business clans that planned and executed “color revolutions” across the world.
“The American state is just a shell for a conglomeration of huge corporations that run the country and try to dominate the world,” Patrushev said.
The United States, Patrushev said, had wreaked havoc in Afghanistan, Vietnam and the Middle East, and had tried for years to undermine Russia’s “unique” culture and language.
Russia, he said, fell victim to Western designs to push it back to the borders of 15th-century Muscovy and accused the West of bleeding Ukraine to undermine Russia.
“There is no place for our country in the West,” he said.
In response, he said, Russia would gain economic sovereignty and financial independence, but also build armed forces and special services capable of deterring any potential aggressor.
Russian companies and private capital, he said, needed to be more “country-oriented”.
“The younger generation should be inspired by the ideas of creative work for the benefit of our homeland, and not sit in the offices of Western companies,” he said.
(Editing by Gareth Jones)