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In his annual year-end address, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would “never back down.” Focusing on national unity, the address was notably shorter than in previous years, lasting just under four minutes.
Without directly naming Ukraine, Putin emphasized the ongoing war as a central theme, stating, “We have repeatedly proven that we can solve the most difficult problems and will never back down because there is no force that can separate us.” He also highlighted the importance of the current “historical” period for Russia and commended the Russian people for their “solidarity, mercy and fortitude.”
President Putin also praised soldiers who are fighting in Ukraine, adding, “We are proud of you, you are heroes, you feel the support of the entire people.”
Putin’s address also did not mention any of the recent shelling in Belgorod, which resulted in 24 fatalities, including three children, and injured 108 individuals.