RUSSIA,UKRAINE,US: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that sanctions imposed against Russia would rebound against the West, including in the form of higher food and energy prices, and Moscow would solve its problems and emerge stronger.
Putin said there had been no alternative to what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine and that Russia was not a country which could accept compromising its sovereignty for some sort of short-term economic gain.
“These sanctions would have been imposed in any case,” Putin told a meeting of the Russian government.
“There are some questions, problems and difficulties but in the past we have overcome them and we will overcome them now.
“In the end, this will all lead to an increase in our independence, self-sufficiency and our sovereignty,” he told a televised Government meeting two weeks after Russian forces invaded neighbouring Ukraine. His comments were designed to portray Western sanctions as self-defeating and reassure Russians that the country can withstand what Moscow is calling an “economic war” against its banks, businesses and business oligarchs.
Putin said Moscow – a major energy producer that supplies a third of Europe’s gas – would continue to meet its contractual obligations even though it has been slammed with comprehensive sanctions including a ban on US purchases of its oil.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Government will create a food reserve big enough to feed the country’s people and armed forces during the Russian invasion, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said late on Wednesday, according to the Government press service.
“The state will redeem grain and other stocks in the volumes of annual consumption by the whole country at the expense of the state budget,” the press service quoted Shmyhal as saying.
“This will provide the country with enough food,” Shmyhal said, without providing additional details.
Ukraine which traditionally starts spring field planting preparations in late February or early March, has said farmers will start sowing in safe areas, but could face a shortage of fuel and seeds.
Meanwhile, the United States is not assisting Ukraine with biological weapons in its war with Russia and there are no indications that biological weapons are being used by Ukraine, said a US Defence Department official.
Two senior defense officials held an on-background press briefing at the Pentagon on Thursday, the US Defence Department said in a press release.
There are five biological research laboratories in Kyiv. Their work focuses on diagnostics, therapeutics, treatments, prevention and vaccines, not on military use as the Russians and Chinese accuse, the US official said.
“There are no DOD bio-weapon labs in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world,” the US official said.
The Biological Weapons Convention effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons.
It was the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. The United States, Ukraine and Russia signed onto it in 1972 and all three ratified it in 1975. -THE HINDUSTAN TIMES, INDIAN EXPRESS