Putin said on Tuesday that Russia’s very survival as a nation-state is at risk in the Ukraine conflict.

Putin, speaking at an aviation factory, rehashed his argument that the West is trying to tear Russia apart.
As a result, “this is not a geopolitical task for us, but a task of the survival of Russian statehood, creating conditions for the future development of the country and our children,” he explained.

Putin claims that the West is trying to use Ukraine as a stepping stone to invade Russia and hand it a “strategic defeat.” The United States and its allies claim to be assisting Ukraine in its defense against an imperial-style invasion that has decimated Ukrainian cities, killed thousands of civilians, and driven millions from their homes.

In response to a question, Putin said that he was concerned about the economy when the West imposed unprecedented waves of sanctions last year, but that it proved stronger than anyone had thought.