President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned of dire consequences for any country that poses a strategic threat to Russia.
“They should know that our response to counterattacks will be lightning fast,” Putin told the Council of Legislators of the Russian Federal Assembly in St. Petersburg. “We have all the tools for that. The kind no one else can boast about right now. And… we will use them if necessary.
He accused Russia’s adversaries of giving new impetus to what he described as “the production of a new geopolitical weapon”, stoking Russophobia and pushing Ukraine into direct confrontation with Russia, did he declare.
Mr Putin insisted that all the goals of what the Kremlin calls its special military operation in Ukraine would be achieved.
“I would like to emphasize once again that all the objectives of the military operation we are carrying out in Donbass and Ukraine, which began on February 24, will definitely be achieved, in order to guarantee the safety of the inhabitants of Donetsk and Luhansk. People’s Republics, Russian Crimea and our whole country in historical perspective,” the Kremlin leader said.
The Russian army, he said, had “avoided a real danger hanging over our homeland. With their courage and their determination, their heroism, they prevented a large-scale conflict that would have unfolded on our territory.
Mr Putin accused the West of launching an economic war against Russia, saying his plans to strangle the country’s economy had failed.
They “undertook massive preparations for an economic war against Russia, they imposed more and more sanctions little by little, using all sorts of pretexts, and sometimes simply without any pretext,” Putin said.
Mr Putin told lawmakers that Russian troops had killed several foreign mercenaries in Ukraine and captured others. He said the Russian Defense Ministry would soon show the suspected foreign fighters to the public, accusing them of committing “horrific crimes against international humanitarian law”.