A deranged pal of Vladimir Putin says Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine is a "battle with the antichrist".
Political analyst Alexander Dugin told Putin’s state media that the operation in Ukraine is a “holy battle”, as he called for the destruction of the “Satanic West”.
Dugin's comments referred to those made by the leader of the Chechen Republic in October that “Satanism is openly acting against Russia ”.
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The remarks reflect a shift in rhetoric among the Russian elite as they try to justify the invasion of Ukraine to a population that appears increasingly opposed to the war.
His comments come as reports have emerged that Russian commanders are fleeing the city of Kherson in the south ahead of an imminent Ukrainian attack, despite the region being of vital importance to the trajectory of the war.
Dugin said: “It is a holy war. It is no coincidence it has been declared a jihad. It is a holy battle against the Satanic West.
“And in principle, if Kadyrov can find the courage to say this openly, I do not think we should hesitate to do either.
“It is an Orthodox battle, a final apocalyptic, eschatological battle of Orthodox Christian Russia, holy Russia, against the antichrist."
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The Russian political analyst was referring to comments made by Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic and a longstanding ally of Putin on October 25.
Speaking on Telegram, Kadyrov launched into a diatribe against western atheism and same-sex relationships, branding it an “abomination”.
He said: “Indeed, there, in the West, Satanism is openly acting against Russia. Satanic democracy is when the rights of atheists are protected, but believers are offended.
"Or when traditional couples are deprived of children and transferred to same-sex families. Intentionally same-sex, not by chance.
“And in Europe they swallowed it. They consider it modern, civilised. The more liberated the topic ‘below the belt’, the better for them.
“And I see degradation and Satanism in this. And I'd rather fight it in the bud there than let this abomination envelop our Motherland here.”
Since his comments, Moscow has repeatedly attempted to frame their invasion as a holy war.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church said that by fighting in the “special military operation”, Russian soldiers were washing away all sins.
Aleksey Pavlov, assistant secretary of the Russian Security Council, said its troops need to carry out the urgent "de-Satanisation" of Ukraine.
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