Putin: Ukraine action aimed to end ‘war’ raging since 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow’s action in Ukraine was intended to stop a “war” that has raged in eastern Ukraine since 2014. Putin said Moscow had long sought to negotiate a settlement to the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas region but was “just duped and cheated.” Russia-backed separatists have battled Ukrainian forces in the region for almost nine years. Putin argued Wednesday that “all that we are doing today as part of the special military operation is an attempt to stop this war.” He described Ukraine’s east as Russia’s “historic territories” and said Moscow had to act to protect Russian speakers there. Ukraine and its allies have rejected the rationale as cover for unprovoked aggression.