Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting on Saturday warned that Ukraine might lose its statehood “if they continue doing what they are doing.”
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“The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood,” Putin said in Moscow, according to the newspaper. “If that happens, they will have to be blamed for that.”
During his meeting he also likened sanctions imposed by Western countries toward Russia as “akin to a declaration of war,” the Times reported, demonstrating an escalation in rhetoric by Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine.
“Weaponizing migration & attacks on nuke plants are akin to a declaration of war too,” Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted on Saturday. “The problem is NATO would quickly annihilate #Russia’s conventional forces & Putin would then use chemical, biological & non-strategic nukes to freeze the conflict.”
Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has been an independent state for more than 30 years.
“Throughout the world community, Russia’s invasion of a sovereign nation has been strongly condemned, and Ukraine has called for membership in the NATO military alliance. As part of its demands, Russia has asked that Ukraine be denied membership in NATO.
As part of Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the European Union, President Volodymyr Zelensky signed an application to become a member of the EU earlier this week.”