Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded to crippling economic sanctions by putting Russian nuclear forces on high alert. Countries across the world have hit Russia with a raft of measures after Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday. Mr. Putin reacted to the sanctions by what has been described as a chilling “escalation”.
“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly economic actions against our country, but leaders of major NATO countries are making aggressive statements about our country,” Mr. Putin said.
“So I order to move Russia’s deterrence forces to a special regime of duty.” He called the sanctions “illegal” as he ordered the defense minister and chief of the general staff to put the Russian army on high combat alert.
The order means Russia’s nuclear weapons will be prepared for increased readiness to launch.
In another worrying sign of increased tensions in the region, Belarus this morning approved a new constitution that will allow the country to host Russian nuclear weapons. The world responds to Russia’s invasion
The EU announced harsh new sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, closing its airspace to Russian aircraft and banning Russian state media broadcasting in the bloc.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, announcing the measures, also said the European Union was taking the unprecedented step of financing arms to Ukraine and was hitting Russian ally Belarus with sanctions for having facilitated the invasion.
The measures come on top of sanctions von der Leyen announced a day earlier that are about to be implemented: cutting some Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank messaging network, banning all transactions with Russia’s central bank, and adding restrictions on Russian oligarchs.
The EU has also sanctioned Mr. Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The US has targeted all ten of Russia’s largest financial companies, introducing measures against institutions holding nearly 80 per cent of Russian banking sector assets.
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In a statement, the White House said the sanctions and stringent export controls would have a profound impact on Russia’s economy, financial system, and access to cutting-edge technology.
The Australian Government said today it had implemented financial sanctions and travel bans on the Russian President, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and Internal Affairs Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev.
The US slams Russia’s escalation The US condemned Mr. Putin’s nuclear forces alert and said his conventional ground forces were experiencing logistic problems in their invasion of Ukraine.
US officials said Mr. Putin’s stunning announcement, four days after his powerful military launched an assault on Ukraine, was dangerously escalatory and part of a pattern of fabricating excuses to justify aggression.
“This is a pattern that we’ve seen from President Putin through the course of this conflict, which is manufacturing threats that don’t exist in order to justify further aggression,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
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A senior US defense official, speaking on grounds of anonymity, said Mr. Putin’s step came as Ukraine’s forces, helped by arms from the West, continued to stymie the advance of Russian troops, who this official said had run into fuel supply and other logistic problems. Source: News.