Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that Western nations’ participation in Ukraine will be greeted with a “lightning-quick” military reaction. Putin’s belligerent statement came after Russia claimed on Wednesday that it had launched a missile strike in southern Ukraine, destroying a “large consignment” of Western-supplied weapons. Countries assisting Ukraine “that get it into their heads to meddle in ongoing events from the side and generate unacceptable strategic dangers for Russia,” stated Russian President Vladimir Putin, “must know that our response to counterpunches will be lightning-quick.”
Putin told MPs in St Petersburg, “We have all the tools for this that no one else can boast of,” referring to Moscow’s ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. “We’re not going to brag about it; we’ll use them if we have to, and I want everyone to know that.” On this, we’ve already made all of the decisions.” Russia’s leader was not specific, but Putin recently oversaw the successful test of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, which Russia is anticipated to deploy in the near future with the potential of carrying ten or more nuclear warheads. Putin promised to complete the “special military operation” to retake territory from Ukraine, which Moscow considers to be Russian historically. He condemned NATO countries and their partners for starting the current conflict in Ukraine.
“Countries that have sought to restrict Russia in the past don’t need a self-sufficient, huge country like ours.” They believe it is dangerous to them simply because it exists. That, however, is not the case. “They are the ones who pose a threat to the entire planet,” Putin stated. Russian soldiers neutralised “a real risk of… a huge conflict that would have evolved on our soil according to other people’s scripts” by commencing the attack in Ukraine, according to Putin. He claimed NATO planned to invade Russia via the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and the separatist-held Donbas border region in eastern Ukraine.
“All of the duties of the special military operation we’re conducting in the Donbas and Ukraine, which began on February 24, will be unconditionally completed,” Putin said, adding that Western attempts to “economically strangle Russia” through sanctions had failed. On the battlefield, fighting resumed in Ukraine’s east on Wednesday along a fairly static front line of around 480 kilometres (300 miles). Russia claimed that their missiles damaged a shipment of weaponry provided to Ukraine by the US and European nations.
Russia has made gradual progress in the Donbas region in the east, with “minimal successes” including the takeover of villages and small towns south of Izyum and on the outskirts of Rubizhne, according to Western sources speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence findings. According to officials, the operation continues to suffer from inadequate command, soldier and equipment losses, adverse weather, and fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Some Russian forces have been moved from Mariupol, Ukraine’s devastated southern port city, to other sections of the Donbas. However, some people remain in Mariupol to resist Ukrainian forces stationed at the Azovstal steel complex, the city’s last stronghold. An estimated 2,000 Ukrainian defenders and 1,000 civilians were supposed to be seeking refuge there. An ammo dump in Russia’s Belgorod area burnt on Wednesday after numerous explosions were heard, according to the governor. There were additional explosions near the Ukrainian border in Russia’s Kursk region, while authorities in Russia’s Voronezh region stated an air defence system shot down a drone.
After Russia’s state-controlled energy business stopped supplying them on Wednesday, Polish and Bulgarian leaders accused Moscow of blackmailing their countries by utilising natural gas. Leaders of the European Union echoed same sentiments and convened an emergency conference to discuss Russia’s actions. Russia’s purpose in cutting off the flow of gas, according to Simone Tagliapietra, senior fellow at the Bruegel think-tank in Brussels, is to “divide and rule,” pitting European countries against one another as they seek energy.
The shutdown, as well as the Kremlin’s warning that other countries could be next, sent shivers through the European Union’s 27 member states. Germany, the continent’s largest economy, and Italy are two of Europe’s main consumers of Russian natural gas, though both have taken steps to minimise their reliance on Moscow. “It’s no surprise that the Kremlin is attempting to blackmail us with fossil fuels,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “Today, the Kremlin’s attempt to create dissension among member nations failed once more. In Europe, the era of Russian fossil fuels is coming to an end.”
Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, informed the Polish parliament that he believes the gas shutdown was caused by Poland’s backing for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. “We will not submit to such a scam,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said of the suspension.