Checking the facts about President Putin's speech on the Ukraine War

President Putin speaking to the nation

A nearly two-hour long national address by President Vladimir Putin to the Russian people.

In the speech, he made a number of assertions regarding the conflict in Ukraine and was extremely critical of Western nations.

Some of his claims have been investigated.

In order to justify Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Mr. Putin has repeatedly made unfounded claims about a "neo-Nazi regime" there.

In contrast to many other European nations, support for candidates on the far right in Ukraine's most recent parliamentary election in 2019 was only 2%.

Also worth noting is the fact that President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish and that Holocaust victims in his family were.

However, there have been far-right organizations in Ukraine, the most well-known of which is the Azov regiment, with some of their members having expressed support for Nazi ideology.

It was established to fend off Russian-backed separatists who had taken control of parts of eastern Ukraine in 2014, but it was later incorporated into the Ukrainian military.

Here, Mr. Putin compared a unit of the Ukrainian army to the 1st Mountain Division of the Nazis, which had the Edelweiss flower on its insignia and participated in war crimes during the Second World War.

The 10th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade was given the honorific name Edelweiss on February 14 by President Zelensky.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted the following day to highlight this as "evidence" of Nazis in Ukraine.

However, other European mountain military divisions, like the 21st Rifles Brigade of Poland and the Croatian Mountain Rescue Service, have adopted the Edelweiss flower—which is native to Alpine regions—as their emblem.

Even Russia had a distinct group known as Edelweiss. In 2011, Rosgvardia's 17th special purpose detachment received this designation. In 2016, the brand became Avanguard.

No proof exists that Ukraine has attempted to obtain nuclear weapons, and Mr. Putin, who has made this claim in the past, did not offer any.

Nuclear weapons were stationed in Ukraine when it was a part of the former Soviet Union, but the country renounced them in exchange for security guarantees in 1994 when it signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Andriy Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, suggested in 2021 that if Ukraine couldn't join Nato, it might have to reevaluate its status as a nuclear-free nation.

President Zelensky declared in 2022 that despite Ukraine having "abandoned" its nuclear arsenal, it still lacked "security.".

However, neither the Ukrainian government nor a document outlining the country's military strategy published in 2021 made any mention of nuclear weapons.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, claims it hasn't noticed any indications that nuclear material intended for peaceful uses has been diverted to other uses in Ukraine. ".

The Russian economy has contracted less than anticipated, and Mr. Putin is correct about that.

The latest report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the economy shrank by 2.2 percent, which is close to the 2.1 percent contraction reported by Russia's statistics agency.

Even though the IMF confirms that the country's contraction was less than anticipated, it still makes the list of the worst-performing nations.

According to the IMF, Russian trade was being diverted to nations that weren't enforcing sanctions against it.

For instance, as Western countries impose sanctions and restrict trade, India and China have emerged as the two biggest consumers of Russian oil.

The IMF predicted in July 2022 that the Russian GDP would decline by 6% for the entire year.

We are examining other assertions made during Mr. Putin's speech.

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