Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Moscow's military operation in Ukraine would undoubtedly achieve what he said were its "noble" objectives.

Speaking at an awards ceremony at the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Russian Far East, Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies that said Moscow had no other choice but to launch a military operation to protect Russia and that a clash with Ukraine's anti-Russian forces had been inevitable.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour's military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)