Putin repeats assertion that Russia did not start war in Ukraine

(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin on Thursday reiterated his position that Russia did not start the war in Ukraine but launched what it calls a “special military operation” to try to stop it.

In his yearly speech to the Valdai Discussion Club, being held in Sochi, Putin said Russia, the world’s largest country by area, had no need to take territory from Ukraine.

He said the conflict was not therefore imperial or territorial but about the global order, and that the West, which had lost its hegemonic power and always needed an enemy, had lost touch with reality.

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Guy Faulconbridge; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Kevin Liffey)