Putin warns the West of wrong revenge. Sanctions hit the Russian economy 2022-04-27 22:55:00


  • Putin warns of retaliation if the West intervenes
  • Ukraine says Europe should stop relying on Russia
  • France will host EU energy ministers on May 2
  • Russia denies energy blackmail
  • Canada says Russian attacks are war crimes

WARSAW/SOFIA/Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of quick retaliation if countries intervene in Ukraine, as European leaders accused Russia of “blackmailing” its gas cuts.

Russia has asked the United States to stop sending weapons to Ukraine, saying large Western shipments of arms are fueling the conflict.

Putin told lawmakers in St Petersburg on Wednesday that the West wanted to divide Russia into different parts and accused it of pushing Ukraine into conflict with Russia.

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“If someone intends to interfere in current events from abroad, creating unacceptable strategic threats to Russia, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning fast,” Putin said, according to a video clip from his presented speech. by Russian media.

“We have all the tools for that, things no one else can boast of owning now. And we won’t be proud, we’ll use them if necessary. And I want everyone to know that.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, turning towns and cities into ruins and forcing more than 5 million people to flee abroad. Western countries have responded by imposing sanctions and weapons on Ukraine to fight a war that has raised fears of a broader conflict in the West, despite a no-brainer for decades.

Russia describes its intervention as a “special operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say this is a false excuse for an unjustified war of aggression by President Vladimir Putin.

As Russia presses its military offensive in eastern and southern Ukraine, its economic battle with the West threatens gas supplies to Europe and hurts the Russian economy as it grapples with the worst crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Ukraine said Europe should stop relying on Russia for trade after it cut gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland for failing to pay them in rubles.

“The sooner everyone in Europe realizes that they cannot rely on Russia for trade, the sooner stability can be ensured in European markets,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Wednesday.

Germany, Russia’s largest energy buyer, hopes to stop importing Russian oil within days, but has warned that a Russian energy embargo or embargo would push Europe’s largest economy into recession. Read more

Gazprom (GAZP.MM)Russia, which has a Russian gas export monopoly, halted gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland on Wednesday for non-payment in rubles, as stipulated in a decree by Putin aimed at mitigating the impact of sanctions.

While the European Commission chief said Gazprom’s suspension was “another attempt by Russia to use gas as a tool of blackmail,” ambassadors of EU member states asked for clearer guidance on whether sending the euro violated sanctions.

France will host a meeting of European Union energy ministers on May 2.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia remains a reliable supplier of energy and denied involvement in blackmail.

He declined to say how many countries had agreed to pay for gas in rubles, but other European customers said gas supplies were flowing normally.

Sanctions are taking a heavy toll on Russia, with the Economy Ministry indicating in a document that the economy could shrink by as much as 12.4% this year. Read more

Canadian lawmakers voted unanimously on Wednesday to call Russia’s attacks in Ukraine a “genocide,” with members of parliament saying there was “abundant evidence of Russia’s systematic and gross war crimes against humanity.”

Canada’s parliament said in a motion that Russia’s war crimes include mass atrocities, willful killing of civilians, desecration of corpses, forcible transfer of children, torture, physical and psychological abuse, and rape. Read more

Russia denies targeting civilians.

Since a Russian invasion force on the outskirts of Kyiv was driven out last month, Moscow has refocused its operations on eastern Ukraine, launching a new offensive to take control of two provinces known as Donbass.

Ukraine said Russian forces used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse a pro-Ukrainian rally in Kherson, the first major city it controls. RIA news agency reported that a series of powerful explosions were caused by missiles that fell on Kherson late on Wednesday. Read more

The authorities said that earlier explosions were heard in three Russian provinces on the border with Ukraine, and an ammunition depot in the Belgorod province caught fire. Read more

Kyiv did not confirm its responsibility for these and other incidents, but described them as rewarding. “Karma is a cruel thing,” presidential advisor Mikhailo Podolyak wrote on social media.

An assistant to the mayor of the devastated port city of Mariupol said Russian forces had renewed their attacks on the Azovstal steel plant, where fighters and some civilians were still hiding.

Concern has also grown about the possibility of the conflict spreading to neighboring Moldova, where pro-Russian separatists have blamed Ukraine for attacks reported this week in their region, which has been occupied by Russian forces since the 1990s.

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Additional coverage by Reuters journalists. writing by Michael Berry; Editing by Robert Persell

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