Putin rival claims US is effectively party to conflict

Putin on the alleged Ukrainian attack in western Russia

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Nikolay Patrushev, Russia’s top security official has claimed the West’s provision of weapons to Ukraine has made it “effectively a party to the conflict” in a fiery rant. Speaking on the second day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Moscow, Patrushev, who is sometimes seen as a potential successor to President Vladimir Putin, also accused what he called “the US-led collective” of trying to “liquidate Russian statehood”.

The 71-year-old, who like many high-profile Russian government figures has been sanctioned by the UK, the US and European Union, made his remarks at a meeting in the western city of Ulyanovsk, according to Russian state news agency Tass.

Referring to the large amount of military gear supplied to Kyiv since the start of the war, Russian Security Council Secretary and ex-FSB chief Patrushev said: “Pursuing the goal of defeating Russia, the US and its cronies continue to flood the Ukrainian regime with weapons; they have in fact become a party to the conflict.”

Citing Putin’s baseless claim that his war is part of an attempt to “denazify” Ukraine, Patrushev added: “They are arming the Kyiv regime, providing it with intelligence, training neo-Nazis and assisting Ukraine in the planning of military operations.

“However, Ukraine’s considerable troop losses aren’t a problem for them. Besides, military activities aren’t taking place on their soil.”

Using Putin’s description of his illegal invasion Patrushev continued: “The Russian president’s decision to launch a special military operation and the actions that are being taken are aimed at ensuring our country’s security and protecting its national interests.

“Liberating Ukraine from neo-Nazism will be an important step towards establishing a multipolar world, restoring stability and strengthening international security.”

Patrushev continued: “The US-led collective West has launched a large-scale information campaign with the aim to discredit our country and liquidate Russian statehood.”

He also accused “foreign secret services” of fomenting protests against the war, accusing what he termed “foreign propaganda centres” of “building up a network of controlled journalists and so-called bloggers, whose main efforts are focused on organising information campaigns that denigrate Russia”.

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In a possible indication that Russia is preparing to crack down on dissenting voices on the internet, Patrushev continued: “The Internet is becoming an increasingly powerful tool for manipulating the mind and behaviour.

“Young people are the first to be hit by this information aggression.

He added: “In these conditions, it is important not only to protect the country’s population, primarily young people, from the influence of destructive ideas and organisations, but also to create conditions which promote the all-round development of personality, cultivating patriotism, civic consciousness, and strengthening spirituality.”

It was necessary to create a “culture” which “rejects various forms of deviant behaviour, he continued.

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He said: “Concurrently, we must intensify measures to expose and thwart terrorist and extremist propaganda, promote legal literacy, including to inform people about accountability for participating in extremist and other illegal activities.”

Speaking to Express.co.uk in August 2022, Former CIA case officer Robert Baer, who highlighted his concerns about Putin in The Fourth Man, published last year, singled out Patrushev as the man most likely to step into the breach should Putin be toppled as President – or alternatively, if multiple reports about his ill-health proved to be accurate.

He said: “Russia’s a police state, the FSB controlling everything.

“And he’s the puppet master.”

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