TEHRAN: Iran's supreme leader on Tuesday (Mar 1) said that United States policies are to blame for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, calling for an end to the war that broke out last week.
"The root cause of the Ukraine crisis is the US and the West's policies," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech marking a Muslim religious anniversary.
"The United States regime is a crisis-creating and crisis-living one. It feeds on crisis.
"In my opinion, today Ukraine is also the victim of such policy. Today, the Ukraine situation is related to this US policy. The US has dragged Ukraine to this point," he added.
He accused Washington of meddling in the "internal affairs of the country, setting up demonstrations against the governments, creating velvet revolutions, creating colour coup d'etats".
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine last Thursday.
Ukraine says that more than 350 civilians have been killed since, and that Moscow is amassing more troops for a possible assault on the capital city Kyiv.
Iran's supreme leader said that Tehran wants the "war to end", and called for civilians' lives and infrastructure to be spared during the conflict.
"We are against war and destruction, anywhere in the world," Khamenei said, adding that "we are against killing people, the destruction of people's infrastructure".
The invasion has pushed tensions between Russia and the West to their highest point in decades.
The US, European allies and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members have imposed severe sanctions on Moscow and are supplying Ukraine with weapons and defence equipment.
Khamenei said that lessons should be drawn from the war, mainly that "Western powers' support of puppet regimes and governments is a mirage, it is not real".
Relations between the US and Iran have been severed since April 1980, a year after the fall of the pro-Western shah.
This was followed by the occupation of the American embassy in Tehran, and the seizing of hostages in a crisis that lasted for more than a year.
The two arch-rivals are currently engaged in indirect negotiations in Vienna to restore a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, from which Washington unilaterally withdrew in 2018.
Iran's leader, who has the final say in major state policies, called the US a "mafia regime".
"Political mafia, economic mafia, arms-producing mafia; different types of mafias that control and lead the policies of the country and actually control the country," he said.