Vladimir Putin has likened Western sanctions on Russia to a declaration of war and defended the invasion of Ukraine saying Moscow needed to protect Russian speakers.
Speaking to female flight attendants in comments broadcast on state television, the Russian president said Moscow wanted Ukraine to be “demilitarised”, “denazified” and should have a neutral status.
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He said: “These (sanctions) are methods of fighting against Russia.
“These sanctions that you can see are equivalent to declaring a war – but thankfully it has not come to an actual war but we understand what these threats are about.”
He added that everything was going to plan in Ukraine, the Russian army would “fulfil its aims” as part of special military operations and that Moscow would consider any third-party declaration of a no-fly zone over the country as “participation in the armed conflict”.
It comes after the Kremlin accused the West of behaving like bandits and claimed the world is “too big” for the US and Europe to isolate a country as big as Russia.
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the West was engaged in “economic banditry” against Russia and that Moscow would respond.
He did not specify what response there would be but said it would be in line with Russian interests.
“This does not mean Russia is isolated,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“The world is too big for Europe and America to isolate a country, and even more so a country as big as Russia. There are many more countries in the world.”
Mr Peskov said that if the US imposed sanctions on Russia’s energy exports then it would give a considerable jolt to energy markets.
Photo Credit: Getty