Vladimir Putin discusses Ukraine with Russian security council

Ukraine foreign minister says he discussed further Russian sanctions with EU’s Borrell

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LONDON: Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Moscow’s conflict with Ukraine and its international repercussions with his security council on Friday, the Kremlin said on its website.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it called a special operation to degrade its neighbor’s military capabilities and root out people it called dangerous nationalists.

Unlike some of the previous meetings with the council, Putin’s video conference was not televised on Friday.

“The current international situation was discussed at the meeting and the exchange of views on the ongoing special operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine continued,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

“The president informed the participants in great detail about his numerous international telephone calls,” it read.

Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a phone call earlier on Friday that Kyiv was attempting to stall peace talks with Russia but that Moscow was still keen to continue negotiations.

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance to Russia’s invasion and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in an effort to force it to withdraw its forces.

Earlier, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said comments by US President Joe Biden, in which he labelled Putin a “war criminal” and a “murderous dictator,” were “personal insults” that appeared to have been fueled by irritation, fatigue and forgetfulness. The Kremlin on Friday called comments by US President Joe Biden about his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “personal insults” and said Biden’s remarks appeared to have been fueled by irritation, fatigue and forgetfulness.

Biden has labelled Putin a “war criminal” and a “murderous dictator” in recent days after the Russian leader last month sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in what he called a special operation to degrade its military capabilities and root out people he called dangerous nationalists.

“We hear and see statements that are actually personal insults to President Putin,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“Given such irritability from Mr.Biden, his fatigue and sometimes forgetfulness…fatigue that leads to aggressive statements, we will not make harsh assessments, so as not to cause more aggression.”

Ukrainian forces have mounted stiff resistance against Russian forces and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow in an effort to force it to withdraw. Adding to this, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Friday said he had spoken with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell about a further package of sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine.

“We discussed the preparation of the 5th EU sanctions package on Russia. Pressure will keep mounting as long as it is needed to stop Russian barbarism. We also discussed protection and help for Ukrainians who fled from Russian bombs to the EU,” he said on Twitter.

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