“When they won the Cold War, the US declared themselves God’s own representatives on earth, people who have no responsibilities — only interests. They have declared those interests sacred. Now it’s one-way traffic, which makes the world unstable,” Putin told the audience.

The much-hyped speech was delayed by more than 90 minutes because of a “massive” cyberattack.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists in an impromptu conference call that the speech was postponed due to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the conference’s systems.

“Unfortunately, today, due to massive DDoS attacks on the forum’s system, the base of accreditation and admission were disabled,” Peskov said.

Peskov told CNN in a text message that the technical specialists working to fix the systems would “need 30-40 minutes” to restore the database.

Putin’s speech at the annual conference in the western Russian city is seen as an opportunity for the world to get some insight into the Russian leader’s thinking four months into his war on Ukraine.

The Russian president has long framed his decision to launch an invasion of Ukraine as a response to Kyiv’s growing diplomatic and security ties with the West. Last week, he hinted that his aim in Ukraine is the restoration of Russia as an imperial power.

Just before Putin’s speech on Friday, Russian senator Konstantin Kosachev told CNN he believed Russia’s actions in Ukraine “prevented a huge war, probably a third world war.”

“If you keep in mind the perspective which could have become a reality, Ukraine becoming a part of NATO,” said Kosachev, who is the Deputy Speaker of Russia’s Federation Council.

“Member states having their view on Crimea, having their view on matters that don’t involve NATO, the United States of America included in the military conflict with Russia. And now, this military conflict is prevented and this is the end of the story and this is the only good news.”

The European Commission announced Friday that it was recommending Ukraine and neighboring Moldova as EU candidate states, with the commission’s chief Ursula von der Leyen saying that Ukrainians are “ready to die” for the European perspective. Peskov said the announcement required Moscow’s “increased attention.”

“We all know about the intensification in Europe and discussions about strengthening the defense component of the EU. Therefore, there are different transformations that we observe,” he said earlier on Friday during a routine daily call with reporters.

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