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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday revealed that he was ‘proud’ of the action of his soldiers in Ukraine, where Moscow says it is conducting a military operation.
‘We are proud that during the special military operation our fighters act with courage, and professionalism, like real heroes,‘ Putin said in televised remarks during a Kremlin meeting with military academy graduates.
Referring to Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the intervention in Ukraine, he said “they will be overcome”.
And ‘in the face of new threats and risks, we will further develop and strengthen our armed forces’, he said, promising the new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile would be commissioned by the end of the year.
‘There is no doubt that we will be even stronger,’ Putin added.
On February 24, Putin sent troops into neighbouring pro-Western Ukraine to “de-militarise” and “de-nazify” the country.
Putin has repeatedly claimed Russia’s economy has managed to weather the barrage of unprecedented international sanctions.
Meanwhile, the United States on Wednesday said it has resolved to stand firmly behind Lithuania and NATO commitments to defend it after Russia warned its neighbor over restrictions on rail transit.
‘We stand by our NATO allies and we stand by Lithuania,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in an interview that was monitored by Africa Today News, New York.
‘Specifically our commitment to NATO’s Article Five — the premise that an attack on one would constitute an attack on all — that commitment on the part of the United States is ironclad,’ he said.
Lithuania, a former Soviet republic both in NATO and the European Union, has been among the most outspoken nations in opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.