Vladimir Putin spoke at a major international conference on Tuesday morning, and made a series of comments which seemed slightly more out there than usual for the Russian president.
He delivered the monologue at the Eastern Economic Forum in the far east city of Vladivostok, shortly before he was expected to meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un.
However, he did not actually mention the visit – even though it has Western leaders on edge over any potential arms deals.
Instead, Putin used the opportunity to bash the West – something he has done consistently ever since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine last year – while he also alluded to peace talks, and next year’s US presidential election.
Here’s a look at the most unusual statements Putin made this morning.
1. Ukraine counteroffensive has ‘failed’
He suggested the Ukrainian army has endured 71,000 losses in its counteroffensive, and that it had failed.
Actually, Ukraine reported last week that it made a breakthrough on the frontline.
He did not mention Russia’s losses, but said between 1,000 to 1,500 people per day are signing voluntary contracts to join its military every day.
He also claimed that the supply of F-16 fighter jets from Western allies to Ukraine “will not change anything”, but “drag out” the war.
2. Mentioned peace talks with Ukraine
Putin said the country would use any pause in the fighting to “replenish their resources and restore the combat capability of their armed forces”.
But, if there was to be any chance of conversation, Ukraine would have to cancel its self-imposed legal ban on peace talks, and negotiate, according to Putin.
Putin has been talking about potential peace talks with the beleaguered country more and more recently, despite planning only last year to seize the whole of Ukraine.
It’s noteworthy that this move comes while drone attacks on Moscow have increased.
3. Persecution of Trump shows US political system is ‘rotten’
Putin and Trump have repeatedly shown themselves to have an amicable relationship in recent months, and today was no exception.
Alluding to the four ongoing criminal cases against the former US president, Putin said: “It shows all the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy
“Everything that’s happening with Trump is politically motivated persecution of one’s political rival, that’s what it is. And it’s being done before the eyes of the US public and the whole world. They’ve simply exposed their internal problems.”
He continued: “In this sense, if they are trying to fight us in some way, it’s good, because it shows who is fighting us. It shows, as they said back in Soviet times, ‘the bestial face of American imperialism, the bestial grin’.”
He also claimed Trump’s offers to negotiate with Russia over its war with Ukraine has “pleased him”.
4. Claimed ‘many people’ in the US want a good relationship with Russia
According to Sky News, Putin said “many people” in the US are looking for good relations with Russia.
Pollster YouGov noted that as of the first quarter of this year 21% of Americans like Putin. This has since gone down to 20%.
5. But he also suggested that the US as a whole will never like Russia
“The will be no fundamental changes in the Russian direction in US foreign policy, no matter who is elected president,” Putin said. “The US authorities perceive Russia as an existential enemy.”
He suggested that even if Trump did get into office, he wouldn’t be able to improve Russia-US relations.
Putin then claimed that any suggestions Trump has a special relationship with Russia is “complete nonsense” especially after he imposed so many sanctions on Moscow when he was in office.
6. Claimed ‘Ukrainian saboteurs’ trained by the UK have been captured
Offering no evidence and no details, Putin suggested the British secret service was behind the attack on an unnamed Russian nuclear power plant which was carried out by Ukrainian special forces.
He suggested his claims were the “complete, absolute, crystal truth”, and asked: “Are they trying to provoke us into retaliating against Ukrainian atomic power stations?”
He added: “Does the British prime minister know what his secret services are doing in Ukraine? Do they understand what they are playing with?”
He said Britain was “underestimating” the consequences of its actions, too.
Back in July, MI6 chief Sir Richard Moore actually suggested some Russians already spy for the UK against Putin.