Russia control 'non existent' says Tom Tugendhat
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The country’s former president warned the US it had the might to put the world’s pre-eminent superpower in its place and accused the West of stoking a wild Russophobic plot to tear Russia apart on Thursday, March 17. It comes as Russian troops have reached a “stand-still” in their invasion of Ukraine, which started on February 24. Dmitry Medvedev, Russian president from 2008 to 2012 and deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said the US had unleashed “disgusting” Russophobia in an attempt to force Russia to its knees.
He then said in a stark warning: “It will not work – Russia has the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place.”
Mr Medvedev also said in his first post on Telegram: “The West’s flagrant hatred of Russia will apparently never hit rock bottom.
“NATO’s expansion towards our borders, an all-out economic and information war against our country, non-stop threats and intimidation attempts and the fierce persecution of our citizens overseas are the reason for the extreme rise in international tensions that the world is going through.”
Before Mr Medvedev’s comments, Putin said in a televised speech that the West is trying to divide Russia with lies.
He also accused the West of trying to provoke civil conflict with the goal of “the destruction of Russia”.
Putin also lambasted citizens he referred to as “scum and traitors” and said they were being used as a “fifth column” to destroy Russia.
He said: “Of course they will try to bet on the so-called fifth column, on traitors – on those who earn their money here, but live over there.
“Live, not in the geographical sense, but in the sense of their thoughts, their slavish thinking.”
Joe Biden on Wednesday, March 16, took hardened his rhetoric against the invading forces, calling Putin a “war criminal”.
The US President was asked by a reporter at the White House whether he would call his Russian counterpart the term, to which Mr Biden previously disagreed.
However, he shortly returned to the reporter and said: “Did you ask me whether I would tell ….? Oh, I think he is a war criminal.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki later said the US President had been speaking from his heart after seeing “barbaric” images of the violence in Ukraine, but stressed he was not making any official declaration.
She then noted there was a separate legal process to determine war crimes, run by the State Department, and added one was ongoing separately.
The Kremlin responded to Mr Biden’s comments and said it was “unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric”.
According to Russian state news agency TASS, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “We believe such rhetoric to be unacceptable and unforgivable on the part of the head of a state, whose bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”
It comes as Mr Medvedev and Mr Peskov, among others, were hit with asset freezes and travel bans by the UK.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK was “going further and faster than ever in hitting those closest to Putin”.
She said: “We are holding them to account for their complicity in Russia’s crimes in Ukraine.
“Working closely with our allies, we will keep increasing the pressure on Putin and cut off funding for the Russian war machine.”
It also comes after President Volodymyr Zelensky told Western leaders stronger sanctions and western military intervention are necessary against Putin as Russian shelling of Ukrainian cities exact an ever-higher death toll.
In a video call with Boris Johnson, Mr Zelensky said “we can still stop the Russian war machine” and it was vital to do so because otherwise “they will come for you”.
On Wednesday, Mr Zelensky spoke to the US Congress and called on America to step up its sanctions against Russia and for help defending Ukraine from Russian aerial bombardments, including calling for a no-fly zone.
He said: “Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death, for thousands of people. I need to protect our sky. I need your help.”
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