Kremlin calls conflict with Ukraine ‘war’ for first time

Kremlin calls conflict with Ukraine ‘war’ for first time
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov /
By bne IntelliNews March 22, 2024

For the first time, the Kremlin has called the conflict in Ukraine a “war.”

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted the fight was a war in an interview with a leading Russian newspaper, using the word that was made illegal following the invasion of Ukraine two years ago

Until now, the Kremlin has refused to call the conflict with Ukraine a “war,” instead dubbing it a “Special Military Operation” (SVO in Russian).

Russian journalists were banned from using the words “war” and “invasion,” and those found guilty by the court for using these terms face a possible 15 years behind bars for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military.

Speaking to the state media outlet Argumenty i Fakty, Peskov appears to have change the official stance, stating that Russia is now at war.

"We are in a state of war. Yes, it started as a special military operation, but as soon as this clique was formed and the collective West became a participant in this on the side of Ukraine, it become a war for us," the Kremlin spokesman said. "I am convinced of that. Everyone should understand this to summon up inner strength."

In the same interview, Peskov stated that Moscow was determined to make sure that Ukraine could not threaten the security of Russian citizens, stating that it must “liberate” the territories illegally annexed by Russia in late 2022.

In the past, President Vladimir Putin himself has occasionally used the word “war” to describe the state of relations between Russia and the collective West, but never in connection with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

"For nine years our adversary, the enemy of our nation, has been waging war against these people. We are often told and hear that Russia has started some kind of war. No! Russia with the help of a special military operation is trying to stop this war being waged against us," the president said, in March 223.

The escalation in rhetoric comes after French President Emmanuel Macron said at a summit in Paris in February that Nato needs to be ready to put troops on the ground in Ukraine, although stopped short of saying any such troops will be deployed any time soon or that such a deployment was a foregone conclusion.

The Kremlin responded furiously to Macron’s remarks, saying Macron was risking sparking a third world war if Nato troops entered the fray.