- Patrushev says that the West seeks to destroy Russia
- Russia will strive for economic independence, strengthening the army
- Patrushev is a key hawkish ally of Putin
MOSCOW (Reuters) – One of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies said on Tuesday that Moscow was now fighting the US-led NATO alliance in Ukraine and that the West was trying to wipe Russia off the world’s political map.
Putin describes the war in Ukraine as an existential battle with the aggressive and arrogant West, and said Russia will use all available means to protect itself and its people from any aggressor.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev is seen by diplomats as one of the main hardline influences on Putin, who has promised victory in Ukraine despite a series of battlefield setbacks.
“The events in Ukraine are not a clash between Moscow and Kiev – it is a military confrontation between Russia and NATO, and above all the United States and Britain,” Patrushev told Argumenti i Fakti newspaper in an interview.
Patrushev said: “Westerners’ plan is to continue dismantling Russia, and eventually erase it from the political map of the world.”
The United States denied Russian allegations that it wants to destroy Russia, the world’s largest producer of natural resources, while President Joe Biden warned that conflict between Russia and NATO could lead to the outbreak of World War III.
Asked about Patrushev’s comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said NATO and the United States were part of the conflict in Ukraine.
“De facto they have already become an indirect party to this conflict, pumping Ukraine with weapons, technologies, intelligence and so on,” Peskov said at a regular press briefing.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 triggered 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 close to a deliberate nuclear war.
The United States and its allies condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine as an imperialist land grab, while Ukraine vowed to fight until the last Russian soldier was expelled from its territory.
As a former Soviet spy who has known Putin since the 1970s, Patrushev’s views give insight into thinking at the highest levels of the Kremlin. He rejected warnings by CIA Director William Burns in 2021 against invading Ukraine.
In a Soviet-style analysis of the West, Patrushev portrayed the Western political elites as corrupt and controlled by transnational corporations and business clans who planned and carried out “color revolutions” across the world.
“The American state is just a shell of a group of huge corporations that rule the country and are trying to take over the world,” Patrushev said.
Patrushev said the United States has sowed chaos in Afghanistan, Vietnam and the Middle East, and has been trying for years to undermine Russia’s “unique” culture and language.
He said Russia was the victim of Western schemes to bring it back to the city limits of Moscow in the fifteenth century, and accused the West of draining Ukraine to undermine Russia.
“There is no place for our country in the West,” he said.
In response, he said, Russia will achieve economic sovereignty and financial independence while also building up its armed forces and special services to deter a potential aggressor.
He said Russian business and private capital needed to be more “nationally oriented”.
“The younger generation should be inspired by ideas for creative work for the benefit of our Motherland, and not sit in the offices of Western companies,” he said.
Editing by Gareth Jones
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