The world faces “probably the most dangerous” decade since the end of World War Two, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has warned.
In a wide-ranging speech in Moscow, he sought to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a move that has left his country internationally isolated.
Mr Putin also accused the West of nuclear blackmail against Russia to force allies to turn away from Moscow.
The West has denounced recent veiled nuclear threats by the Kremlin.
Earlier this week, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military alliance condemned unsubstantiated claims by Russia that Ukraine might use a “dirty bomb” – conventional explosives laced with radioactive material.
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said alliance members “reject this allegation” and “Russia must not use it as a pretext for escalation”.
Speaking at the annual Valdai forum, Mr Putin said: “We’re at a historical frontier. Ahead is probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time important decade since the end of World War Two”.
He described the current geopolitical situation in the world as “revolutionary”, saying the West was no more able to be in charge – but was “desperately trying” to do so.
“The future world order is being formed before our eyes,” the Russian leader stressed.
And he again accused the West led by the US of trying to “destroy” Russia, providing no evidence to back up his claims.
Almost eight months on from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its forces are struggling while Ukraine has advanced and regained territory in the east and south. In the eastern Donbas region, the city of Bakhmut remains a Russian target, however, and its troops are making progress.
The city reverberates to the sound of constant shelling, day and night. It’s been going on for weeks.
Most of Bakhmut’s 70,000 citizens have already fled. Those who remain are mostly the elderly. They’re living without running water or electricity.
A small queue had formed for the latest evacuation, with volunteers still bravely driving a minibus in and out of the city.
Olena, who’s nearly 70 years old, was among those waiting to leave. “People are exhausted,” she said, as yet another barrage rocked the city. -BBC