Russian society shows its maturity by sticking together around the armed forces, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. The Kremlin chief accused the West of trying to divide Russian society, but said they have already realized “that is impossible.”
Surveys conducted in the country in the last two months, after the Russian leader ordered the start of his military offensive against Ukraine, give him broad support among the Russian population, in the best of cases above 80%.
Ukraine denies it
Putin accuses Kyiv of plotting to kill well-known Russian TV journalist
The plan of Western countries is the task of dividing Russian society, something they have not achieved, Putin said during an extended meeting of the board of directors of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office.
In his words, high-ranking diplomats from the countries of the European Union and the United States are encouraging Ukraine to use all means to “win on the battlefield.”
“But as they realize that this is not possible, the foreground is occupied by another task: to divide Russian society, to break Russia from within. But this does not work either,” the Russian president said.
Moscow expels 40 German diplomats in retaliation for a similar move by Berlin
On the contrary, Putin stressed that Russian society is “cohesive, supports our armed forces” and “the forces sent to ensure the security of Russia and in support of citizens living in Donbass.”
The Russian authorities have criticized the support that the countries of the European Union are giving Ukraine. They repeatedly recall statements by the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU, Josep Borrell, who said that “the war will be won on the battlefield” when at the beginning of the month he announced additional aid of 500 million euros for the purchase of weapons to the Kyiv government.
Putin called on prosecutors to take a hard line against what he portrayed as plots hatched by foreign spies to divide the country and discredit the military.
In this sense, he announced that the Russian Security Services (FSB) had dismantled a plan for “a terrorist group” to try to kill a well-known Russian television journalist.
“They have gone on to terror, to prepare the murder of our journalists,” said Putin, who assured that they were acting on the orders of Kyiv.
The Russian president did not name the informant, but the FSB later explained that he was the presenter Vladimir Solovyov, the best-known publicist on Russian state television. “It was intended to be done by a group of neo-Nazis on the order of the Security Service of Ukraine,” the FSB said.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) denied these accusations, according to Reuters. They are fantasies cooked up by Moscow, he assured. “The SBU has no plans to assassinate V. Solovyov,” he said in a statement.
In the field of sanctions and counter-sanctions, Moscow declared 40 German diplomats “persona non grata” on Monday. It was the “symmetric response” to a similar measure adopted by Germany on April 4, the Russian Foreign Ministry explained in a statement, which said it had delivered a note of this decision to the German ambassador in Moscow.