Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech Wednesday that Russia should undergo a "self-cleaning of society" to get rid of the "bastards and traitors" as thousands of Russians try to flee the country amid its invasion into Ukraine.
"The collective West is attempting to splinter our society," Putin said in a video address shared on Twitter. "Speculating on military losses, on socio-economic effects of sanctions, in order to provoke a people's rebellion in Russia."
"But any people, the Russian people especially, are able to distinguish true patriots from bastards and traitors, and will 'spit them out,'" he said of those who do not back the Kremlin.
"I am certain that this necessary and natural self-cleaning of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, togetherness, and our readiness to answer any calls to action," Putin said.
Putin explained that he is not "judging those with villas in Miami or the French Riviera" or those "who cannot live without foie gras and mussels or so called gender-based rights" as long as they are "mentally" with Russia.
"The problem does not lie in this, but I repeat, the fact that many of these people inherently, mentally live elsewhere and not here with us, with our people, with Russia," Putin said.
"This is, in their opinion ... a belonging to the higher caste, the higher race," he said.
Meanwhile, thousands of Russians are attempting to flee the country following Putin's February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Since then Russian troops have shelled multiple Ukrainian cities, including residential buildings and hospitals.
Several Russians told Insider that they had fled their hometowns for neighboring countries over fears of martial law, border closures, detention, and economic hardships.
Some feared they would be detained over their opposing views of the war, as a new law makes it illegal to spread false information about the Russian military, call for the end of Russia's invasion into Ukraine, or support sanctions against Russia.
Nearly 15,000 people across Russia have been detained since the start of the invasion into Ukraine, according to data from the independent monitoring group OVD-Info.
Translations by Nikita Angarski.