Champagne-swigging Putin vows to keep confronting West until he dies

Vladimir Putin has declared he will keep fighting the West until the day he dies.

The Russian despot, 71, was spotted swigging champagne at a Heroes of Russia military awards ceremony. There, he vowed to "go to the end" to defend his country.

In new footage released overnight, the dictator announced: "The Motherland gave us all, including me, the opportunity and rewarded us with the opportunity to work for our country and our people. This is a reward from the Motherland for each of us. And we all, including myself, will go to the end, defending the country's interests."

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The ceremony saw troops awarded new honours gained in Putin's controversial war in Ukraine. He praised the soldiers – who vary in rank from private to colonel – for "risking themselves and their health" and for "moving forward" with the ongoing invasion. "It is very important for me, of course, to hear this from people who are right there, on the front line," he added.

The footage was released as a clip filmed a decade ago resurfaced, showing the tyrant ruling out an invasion of the besieged nation and declaring plans to send troops there "complete nonsense." "We are not indifferent to the situation of our compatriots [in Ukraine]," he said at the time.

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"But this does not mean at all that we are going to wave our swords and send in troops. This is complete nonsense, nothing like this exists and cannot exist. And if we really say that [Ukraine] is a fraternal people and a fraternal country, then we must act like close relatives and support the Ukrainian people in a difficult situation."

The news comes after Putin confirmed he would be standing for president in Russia's 2024 elections. Despite contention over the war, calls for the dictator to be overthrown and his allegedly ailing health, Putin seems eager to serve at least one more term.

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This would see him remain in power until at least 2030, the Daily Star previously reported – unless he is ousted by enemies or kicks the bucket first. And although the list of reasons why the tyrant should perhaps step down is extensive, the tyrant's victory in securing his fifth term seems all but inevitable given that he has been in power for the last two decades.

An independent poll from Russia suggested some 80% of civilians support another term for the polarising president. But if this figure seems a little unrealistic, it probably is – the Kremlin has is known to go to extremes in silencing opposition and has cracked down on any criticism of its leader since he came to power.

The former KGB agent took over from Yeltsin in 1999 and is the longest-serving Russian leader since fascist dictator Josef Stalin. He took a brief pause from the top job between 2008 to 2012 to serve as Prime Minister under Dmitry Medvede before returning as head of state.

His current term ends on May 7, 2024 and elections are due to take place in advance of this date, on March 17.

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