War in Ukraine: Putin says Western sanctions are like a "declaration of war" | International

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Russian President Vladimir Putin considers that the sanctions that the West has imposed on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine are similar to a "declaration of war", as he indicated this Saturday in a meeting with female flight crew members of Russian airlines, broadcast on public television. The financial measures that Western countries have taken against Moscow to suffocate the country have shaken the economic foundations: ATMs have run out of money and some prices have risen by more than 30%.

What would be considered a declaration of war would be, according to Putin, the imposition of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, demanded by the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, and which has been denied by NATO. “We heard that it is necessary to establish a no-fly zone over the territory of Ukraine. To do this is impossible from the territory of Ukraine itself, it can only be done from the territory of some neighboring states. But any movement in that direction will be considered by us as participation in hostilities by that State from whose territory threats to our country are created”, he emphasized.

The president has assured that he has no intention of declaring martial law in Russia because he sees no reason for it. "Martial law is introduced in case of external aggression, in Russia there is no such situation now and, hopefully, there will be no such situation," he said.

On the progress of the attack on Ukraine, Putin has claimed that Russian forces have virtually eliminated the country's military infrastructure. “The first thing they did [los militares rusos] was to destroy the entire military infrastructure. Well, not all of it, but partially, mainly warehouses with weapons, ammunition, aviation, anti-aircraft defense systems," the Russian president said. "This work is almost complete," he added, taking the opportunity to refute accusations that the Russian Army is using conscripts in the invasion.

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Putin has repeated some of the justifications that led him to make the "difficult" decision to attack Ukraine, such as the danger to Russia of a hypothetical accession of Kiev to the Atlantic Alliance and the defense of the pro-Russian inhabitants of the Ukrainian separatist region of Donbas. . “People in Donbas are not street dogs. Between 13,000 and 14,000 people have died over the years. More than 500 children have been killed or maimed. But the West chose not to notice this for eight years. Listen, eight years”, Vladimir Putin stressed, referring to the war that began in 2014 after the regime change in Kiev and the annexation to Russia of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea with a referendum considered illegal by the international community.

However, he did not want to close the road to negotiation. “Our proposals are on the table with the group of negotiators in Kiev. Hopefully, they will respond positively to that," said Putin, for whom one of the key requirements is "the demilitarization of the country" and that Ukraine has a "neutral status" to help the citizens of Donbas.

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