Russia lashed out at countries that decided to provide “lethal” weapons to Ukraine, threatening them with the “danger of the consequences” should those weapons affect Moscow’s military operations in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
“EU citizens and structures involved in supplying lethal weapons and fuel and lubricants to the Armed Forces of Ukraine will be responsible for any consequences of such actions in the context of the ongoing special military operation [in Ukraine]. They cannot fail to understand the degree of danger of the consequences,” state agency Interfax cited the ministry as saying.
The EU announced on Sunday that it will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to Ukraine. The weapons will be worth 450 million euros ($505 million).
The EU-supplied lethal weapons will include ammunition, munitions, air defense systems and anti-tank systems, and the non-lethal category includes fuel, ballistic helmets, personal protective equipment and first aid kits.
The Russian ministry also tried to downplay the effects of the severe and wide-ranging sanctions imposed on the country by the West to pressure Moscow into ending its assault on Ukraine.
“Another myth that had been propagated by the EU in the past — that their unilateral restrictions, which are illegitimate under international law, are not directed against the Russian people — has been finally dispelled. Brussels functionaries, who until recently portrayed themselves as our country's ‘strategic partner’, are not hiding any longer: they intend to inflict maximum damage on Russia, hit its weak points, seriously destroy its economy and suppress its economic growth,” the statement read.
It added: “We want to assure you it will not. The actions of the European Union will not go unanswered. Russia will continue to ensure the realization of its vital national interests without regard to sanctions and their threats. It is time for Western countries to understand that their undivided dominance in the global economy is long a thing of the past.”
However, Russia is more economically isolated than ever, with its currency crumpling under the pressure of the international sanctions that also limit its central bank from trying to limit the extent of the crash.
In addition, intelligence reports and Western defense officials say that Moscow's forces are behind schedule, facing unexpected resistance from Kyiv's troops.
Yet, despite the crippling sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and the EU, as well as the flurry of international diplomatic efforts, President Vladimir Putin shows no signs of relenting.
He ordered on Sunday Russian nuclear forces on high alert, citing the West’s “aggressive [and] illegitimate sanctions” against Russia as the cause.
On Monday, Russian nuclear missile forces and Northern and Pacific fleets were placed on enhanced combat duty.
The first round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials aimed at ending the conflict concluded on Monday with no agreements. Kyiv said negotiations with Moscow were difficult. A second round expected to focus on a ceasefire is anticipated to commence in the coming days.