Vladimir Putin issued a chilling warning Saturday to the West over the imposition sanctions against Russia. He warned that measures to cripple Russia’s economy were “akin a war act”.
The Russian president made threatening comments and also defiantly stated to the leaders of Ukraine that they would be dismantling their country as an independent sovereign state if it continued resisting Russia’s invasion.
Putin stated that the current leadership must understand that if they keep doing what they are doing they run the risk of ruining Ukraine’s future. They will be held responsible if that happens.
After 10 days of devastation and bombing, Moscow reached a ceasefire to allow civilians from Ukraine to flee.
Russia’s foreign ministry responded to Putin’s warning and specifically criticized the UK for “sanctions hysteria”, as well as its role in supporting Ukraine. Maria Zakharova spokeswoman for the foreign ministry and said Russia would continue to cooperate with Kyiv.
“The sanctions hysteria, in which London plays one the leading, if no more the main roles, leaves us with no choice but take proportionately harsh retaliatory actions,” she stated, adding that Russia’s response would “undermine” Britain’s Russian interests.
Tensions escalated to new heights and hopes of diplomatic progress in behind-the scenes negotiations were dashed. The UK Foreign Office advised all Britons living in Russia to flee immediately by taking any commercial route. There are approximately 6,000 UK citizens living in Russia.
European diplomats are increasingly convinced that Putin views the west’s support for Ukraine with weaponry and other support as an intervention of a nature that is necessary to retaliate.
Referring to Ukraine’s request for Nato impose a no fly zone over the country, which Nato rejected, Putin said: “The realization of that demand would bring about catastrophic results not just to Europe but the entire world.”
Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, announced a six-point plan to “ensure Putin fails”, which included supporting Ukraine and “maximising economic pressure on Putin’s government.”
Johnson stated that Johnson was not content to support the rules-based international system. He also said, “It’s not enough to show our support for it – we have to defend it against any sustained attempt to rewrite them by military force.”
Ukraine claimed that it had destroyed more Russian firepower on the ground. According to the armed forces, soldiers had taken down a helicopter and 2 warplanes. Three pilots were also captured. It claimed that one of the pilots had participated in Russian bombing missions in Syria.
Ukrainian troops launched a successful counterattack in the Kharkiv area,seizing equipment & armoured vehicles. This is the second-largest city in Ukraine, and has been subject to ferocious Russian bombardment.
Residents of the south of the country flooded the main square of Kherson, protesting peacefully against the occupation . To loud applause, they waved Ukrainian flags, and even took a Russian armored personnel carrier for a spin. Similar large-scale antiRussian demonstrations were held in Melitopol. There, Russian soldiers fired into air and Berdyansk Azov Sea port.
Both sides were quick to blame each other after the ceasefires fell apart. Both sides blamed each other for the failure to reach an agreement to evacuate civilians from Mariupol and nearby Volnovakha. Officials in Ukraine claimed that attempts to establish a humanitarian corridor to the east for more than 200,000 civilians were unsuccessful due to shelling.
Despite growing international concern and the rise of rhetoric, diplomats attempted to broker a solution to the crisis this weekend. According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has not yet imposed sanctions against Moscow. Erdogan is expected to meet with Putin to discuss a ceasefire. Diplomats believe Erdogan may be interested in a role as an interlocutor.
On Thursday, EU leaders will meet at Versailles in Paris to discuss Ukraine’s request to be granted candidate status. Volodymyr Zelenskiy is the Ukraine’s president. He believes that putting Ukraine on a “fast track to the EU” will be crucial for securing its political future. Kyiv must also offer Putin a guarantee to maintain military neutrality during any negotiations on the end of the war.
Washington has been discussing offering Putin a “golden bridge”, which would block all of his options for advancement while making retreat more attractive. On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that negotiations were possible. He said, “If they show any indications of being willing to engage meaningful diplomacy,”
However, western diplomats don’t believe Putin is willing to negotiate or back down. Malcolm Rifkind, former UK foreign secretary, stated that Putin was likely to have felt the enormous effects of sanctions, including the blockade of 60% of Russia’s foreign reserves of $600bn.
Officials in the US hope that Russia’s economic woes will make Putin resign. Some critics of Biden’s response claim that the “golden Bridge” was not clearly marked.
“If the goal of compel is to do so, then sanctioners must be clear about what Russia can do in order to lift the sanctions,” Dan Drezner, a Tufts University political scientist and sanctions expert, said in the Washington Post. “This lack of clarity undermines coercive negotiation because the targeted actor believes that sanctions will remain in place regardless of what they do.”