Russian President Vladimir Putin has said sanctions imposed on his country are “equivalent of a declaration of war,” CNN reports.
Several countries including EU members, the US, the UK and Canada, imposed sanctions on Russia after Putin authorised the invasion of Ukraine on 24 March citing genocide on pro-Russian citizens.
Putin added that Russia could have avoided attacking Ukraine and “could have helped the republics of Donbas at the contact line and reinforced them with the Russian army, but in this case, and I mean with the unwavering support from the west, we would have radicals on the other side coming endlessly… with support from the west.” He added:
The current [Ukrainian] leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they put under question the future of Ukrainian statehood. And if that happens, it will be entirely on their conscience.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that 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.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett flew to Moscow to meet Putin regarding Ukraine.
Bennett, who is religious, took the unusual step of flying on the Sabbath to meet him. The trip follows a request by Ukraine for Israel to mediate the conflict.