Russian President Vladimir Putin gave remarks Tuesday in his annual address to the nation, just one day after President Biden made a surprise visit to Ukraine.
In his long-delayed state-of-the-nation address, Putin cast Russia and Ukraine as victims of Western double-dealing. He said Russia, not Ukraine, was the one fighting for its very existence.
The speech reiterated a litany of grievances that the Russian leader has frequently offered as justification for the widely condemned war and ignored international demands to pull back from occupied areas in Ukraine.
Putin’s speech comes three days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
PRESIDENT BIDEN MAKES SURPRISE VISIT TO KYIV. UKRAINE, MEETS WITH PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY
Russia has continued its attack on Ukraine over the last year despite Western sanctions and losses on the battlefield. Ukraine’s defense has been supported by a number of other countries, most of which are in the West.
Ukrainian officials have said they expect Russia to ramp up its offensive in Moscow’s acknowledgment of the one-year anniversary of the war on Feb. 24.
Biden on Monday met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at Mariinsky Palace to announce an additional half-billion dollars in U.S. assistance. The U.S. has already supported Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars in financial aid and military equipment.
The new assistance includes shells for howitzers, anti-tank missiles, air surveillance radars and other aid but does not offer new advanced weaponry.
Biden said he visited Ukraine to meet with Zelenskyy and “reaffirm our unwavering and unflagging commitment to Ukraine’s democracy, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.” He said Putin was “dead wrong” in believing Ukraine was weak when he launched the invasion a year ago.
BIDEN ANNOUNCES MILLIONS MORE TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO ASSIST UKRAINE DURING SURPRISE TRIP TO KYIV
“I am meeting with President Zelenskyy and his team for an extended discussion on our support for Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement Monday. “I will announce another delivery of critical equipment, including artillery ammunition, anti-armor systems, and air surveillance radars to help protect the Ukrainian people from aerial bombardments. And I will share that later this week, we will announce additional sanctions against elites and companies that are trying to evade or backfill Russia’s war machine.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.