One of President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies said on Tuesday that Moscow was now fighting the U.S.-led NATO military alliance in Ukraine and that the West was trying to wipe Russia from the political map of the world.
“The events in Ukraine are not a clash between Moscow and Kyiv – this is a military confrontation between Russia and NATO, and above all the United States and Britain,” Al Jazeera reported quoting Patrushev.
Nikolai Patrushev accused the West of trying to pull Russia apart, and eventually erase Russia from the world map. Patrushev also accused the US pulled out of Afghanistan to focus its efforts on Ukraine.
Patrushev, a former Soviet spy who has known Putin since the 1970s, is a hardline ally and seen as one of the few people able to influence the Russian president.
The United States has denied Russian claims that it wants to destroy Russia, the world’s biggest producer of natural resources, while President Joe Biden has cautioned that a conflict between Russia and NATO could trigger World War Three.
Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine has triggered one of the deadliest European conflicts since World War Two and the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
The United States and its allies have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an imperial land grab, while Ukraine has vowed to fight until the last Russian soldier is ejected from its territory.