Putin gives a major speech ahead of the one-year war anniversary

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Vladimir Putin was brought to Moscow ahead of a surprise announcement to mark the year-long war in Ukraine.

The dictator’s motorcade was spotted under cover of darkness rushing towards the Kremlin.

The footage captured the car convoy driving through the capital around 1 a.m.

Ahead of Putin’s speech, which is expected around 9am GMT, there are high security measures in front of the Gostiny Dvor Hall near Red Square.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state television: “At such a crucial and very complicated point in our development, our lives, everyone is waiting for a message hoping to hear an assessment of what is happening, an assessment of the special military operation. ‘

Airfares from Russia skyrocketed today as news broke of Putin’s special announcement.

The Russians reportedly fear an escalation in mobilization or a widespread declaration of war — contrary to the phrase “military operation” previously used by the Kremlin.

Hardliners like TV propagandist Margarita Simonyan, head of the state broadcaster RT, spoke ominously before Putin’s speech to the Federal Assembly in Moscow of “expecting jubilation”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin holds binoculars while observing the Center-2019 military exercises at the Donguz Firing Range near Orenburg, Russia September 20, 2019 At Any Cost. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Vladimir Putin’s speech is expected around 9am (Image: AP)

Opposition blogger Maxim Katz, 38, wrote: “The cheapest direct flight from Moscow to Yerevan is $650 [£540] – 5 times the regular price.

“Every pre-scheduled speech by Putin over the past year has been like a professional vacation for hoteliers, real estate agents, taxi drivers and airlines in the post-Soviet republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia.

“We don’t know how many people took a one-way trip.

“Estimates range from half a million to two million.”

A block of flats destroyed by a missile attack is seen as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues January 5, 2023 from the frontline town of Bakhmut in Ukraine's Donbass. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

This week marks a year since Russia invaded Ukraine February 24, 2022 (Image: Reuters)

The Glasgow-educated political activist, who now lives in exile and has 1.68 million YouTube subscribers, said: “We can say with certainty that there is a million people across the country ready to leave in a minute.”

Katz said that across Russia, “people live with one foot out front.”

The 70-year-old Putin was hardly seen for several days amid claims he has suffered a health relapse and will need new tests and treatments.

The dictator’s speech followed US President Joe Biden’s visit to Kiev, just 530 miles from Moscow, and amid Western solidarity in supplying Ukraine with new tanks, missiles and ammunition.

Speaking from Kyiv, Mr Biden praised Ukraine’s “amazing” resilience over the past year, stressing that “the whole world is watching” and that the US will support Kyiv “for as long as it takes”.

“On that dark night a year ago, the world was literally preparing for the fall of Kiev… maybe even the end of Ukraine,” Mr. Biden said at the joint news conference with Mr. Zelensky.

“A year later, Kiev is standing and Ukraine is standing. Democracy is standing,” he said, adding, “The world is behind you.”

Noting that he visited Ukraine six times while he was vice president during the Obama administration, Mr. Biden added, “Kiev has captured a part of my heart.”

Mr Zelensky previously shared a photo of himself shaking hands with his American counterpart on Telegram.

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https://metro.co.uk/2023/02/21/putin-to-hold-major-address-to-russia-today-ahead-of-wars-one-year-anniversary-18319299/ Putin gives a major speech ahead of the one-year war anniversary

Justin Scaccy

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