Russian President Vladimir Putin has described sanctions imposed by western nations over the invasion of Ukraine as “akin to a declaration of war.”
“But thank God it has not come to that,” he added.
Putin also warned that any attempt to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be seen as participation in the armed conflict, the BBC reports. And he rejected suggestions that he would introduce a state of emergency or martial law in Russia.
Putin made the remarks while speaking to a group of women flight attendants at an Aeroflot training centre near Moscow.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion 10 days ago, the West has imposed a raft of sanctions on Russia, including the freezing of Putin’s foreign assets and the exclusion of a number of Russian banks from the Swift international payments system.
In addition, many multinational firms have ceased operations in Russia, Today (Saturday), Zara, Paypal, and Samsung became the latest global brands to suspend trading there.
The economic measures have already caused the rouble to plunge in value and forced the Russian central bank to double interest rates.
In his latest comments, Putin sought to justify the war in Ukraine, repeating his assertion that he was seeking to defend Russian-speaking communities there through the “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of the country.
Responding to western defence analysts’ allegations that the Russian military campaign was going worse than expected, he said: “Our army will fulfil all the tasks. I don’t doubt that at all. Everything is going to plan.”
He added that only professional soldiers were taking part in the hostilities, and there were no conscripts involved, despite reports to the contrary.