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Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the U.S. and wider West, claiming Tuesday that America wants to drag out the war in Ukraine.

“The situation in Ukraine shows that the U.S. is trying to prolong this conflict,” he said during a welcome address at a conference in Moscow on international security, Russian state news agency Interfax reported.

Putin also claimed that the U.S. was trying to maintain its hegemonic status in the world and that the West wanted to extend its “bloc system” of defense, such as the NATO military alliance, into Asia.

“We also see that the collective West is seeking to extend its bloc system to the Asia-Pacific region similarly to NATO in Europe. For this purpose, bellicose military-political alliances are being formed, such as AUKUS and the others,” Putin claimed, referencing the trilateral security pact between Australia, the U.K. and U.S. that was signed last year.

In addition, he said U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, which angered Russia’s ally China, had been a “thoroughly planned provocation,” saying such a “reckless” trip was “part of a purposeful, conscious strategy of the United States to destabilize and chaotize the situation in the region and the world” and “an insolent demonstration of disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries and for its international obligations.”

Putin once again defended Moscow’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, claiming it was being carried out “to ensure the security of Russia and our citizens.”

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