- Yaroslav Lukov
- From BBC News
Any country that tries to intervene in Ukraine’s war will face a “lightning-fast” response, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
“We have all the tools [para responder] which no one can boast. And we’re not going to brag about them, we’re going to use them if necessary,” he said, in what is considered a reference to ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
Ukraine’s allies have increased arms supplies to Kiev. The United States has promised to guarantee that Ukraine will defeat Russia.
US and European officials say Russia is being hampered in its efforts in the east.
Last week, Russia launched a major offensive to seize the Donbas region after withdrawing from areas around the capital Kiev.
But, according to one official, Russian forces are “finding difficulties in overcoming staunch Ukrainian resistance and are suffering losses.”
The European Commission has accused Russia of blackmail after Moscow cut off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said this shows Russia’s “unreliability” as a supplier.
The Kremlin said Russia was forced to take action against “hostile measures” by European nations.
The Gazprom cut follows Poland and Bulgaria’s refusal to pay for gas in rubles — a demand made in March by President Vladimir Putin aimed at bolstering a Russian currency hit by Western sanctions.
Putin spoke about foreign intervention in Ukraine during a conversation with Russian lawmakers in the city of Saint Petersburg on Wednesday (27/4).
“If an outsider tries to intervene in Ukraine and create strategic threats for Russia, our response will be lightning fast,” he said.
“We have all the tools [para responder] which no one can boast. And let’s not brag about them, let’s use them if necessary.”
The Russian leader said that all decisions on what that response would include have already been made — without providing further details.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and just days later, President Putin ordered his military to put Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert.
Analysts suggest these threats are an attempt by Putin to warn Ukraine’s allies not to intervene further in the conflict.
President Putin spoke a day after a summit in Germany where several countries pledged to increase military support for Ukraine.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has promised to move “heaven and earth” to ensure Ukraine wins the war.
Recently, there have been a growing number of pledges to increase military support to Ukraine, including Germany’s announcement that it will send 50 anti-aircraft tanks.
Paul Adams Analysis
BBC News diplomatic correspondent
Officials from NATO military alliance countries have been talking about the latest in the war and say Russia has continued to build up forces in and around Donbas and is making smaller gains.
“But when they are faced with genuine military objectives, they are finding it difficult to overcome staunch Ukrainian resistance and are suffering losses,” one official said.
Heavy rain is also hampering Russian progress. “The Russians don’t like to fight in the rain,” one official said, adding that the Russians have little tactical awareness and continue to suffer from logistical difficulties.
They have the ability to operate off-road, but officials say it’s surprising they haven’t yet done so.
Even in places where Ukrainian forces found themselves besieged, they were able to resupply their forces “for an astonishing period of time”.
Officials noted that even in places where Russia gained ground, Ukrainian forces showed a “remarkable” ability to counterattack — sometimes doing so so quickly that the Russians soon found themselves at a disadvantage.
Ukrainian special forces, operating behind Russian lines, are exploiting the vulnerability of long supply lines, which helps buy Ukraine time.
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