The president has accused the West of playing chicken with Moscow in the Ukraine conflict FILE PHOTO. © Getty Images / Skadr

President Vladimir Putin’s statement about Russia’s intention to “go to all the way” referred to achieving its objectives in the Ukraine conflict, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

Peskov was asked for clarification about remarks the Russian leader made on Thursday during a press conference in Vietnam. Putin was asked by a reporter what intentions he believed Western nations had in escalating tensions with Moscow.

“Apparently, they count on us to chicken out at some point. But at the same time, they say they want to achieve a strategic defeat against Russia on the battlefield,” he replied.

Such an outcome would amount to the loss of Russian statehood, Putin argued.

“The question then is: why would we be afraid? Would it not be better to go all the way?” he concluded.

The US and its allies have claimed that the Ukraine crisis is the result of a Russian drive for territorial conquest, and that by launching military action, Moscow has already suffered “a strategic defeat” in the form of alienation on the world stage. Western leaders have pledged to support Kiev for “as long as it takes” to prevail in the hostilities.

Moscow has accused the US of triggering the conflict by expanding NATO across Europe against Russian objections and by vowing to bring Ukraine into the military bloc. This has given Kiev a sense of impunity, prompting it to crack down on political dissent and discriminate against the ethnic Russian minority to appease radical nationalists, officials in Moscow have claimed. (RT)