Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Thursday declared his plans to unleash a ‘decisive response’ to any country that does anything to threaten Russia while also lashing out against Germany for promising tanks for Kyiv.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine had earlier warned that the Kremlin was consolidating its forces for a fresh offensive.
Zelenskyy was speaking in Kyiv beside EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, who said the bloc was looking to finalise fresh sanctions against Russia by February 24, exactly one year after Putin ordered troops into Ukraine.
In the southern Russian city of Volgograd, Putin said: ‘It’s unbelievable but true. We are again being threatened by German Leopard tanks.’
He was speaking at a ceremony commemorating the Red Army’s victory against Nazi troops 80 years ago in Stalingrad, as the city was then known.
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‘We have something to respond with,’ he added. ‘A modern war with Russia will be completely different.’
Peskov elaborated, saying that as Western deliveries for Ukraine increased to include more powerful weapons, Russia would respond in kind, utilising the fullest of its military capacity.
Ukraine this month secured promises from the West for deliveries of modern battle tanks to fight Russian forces and Kyiv is now asking for long-range missile and fighter jets.
Zelenskyy in Kyiv warned that Russia was already “concentrating” its forces to launch a new offensive to hit back against Ukraine and other pro-democratic countries.
‘It is preparing to try to take revenge, not only against Ukraine, but against a free Europe and the free world,’ Zelensky told a joint press conference with von der Leyen, who announced the timeline for the fresh sanctions.
Putin has insisted that Russia is weathering the barrage of sanctions imposed by Ukraine’s Western allies and will continue its military campaign in Ukraine.
But von der Leyen said existing sanctions were already “eroding” Russia’s economy, “throwing it back by a generation”. She estimated that an existing oil price cap alone was costing Moscow around 160 million euros every day.