Vladimir Putin has said the West’s “blitzkrieg” of sanctions against Russia will not work as he vowed to continue his “noble” invasion of Ukraine.
Putin today said peace talks with Kyiv are at a “dead end” and that the invasion is “going to plan”, despite Russian troops failing to achieve any of their major military targets in the first seven weeks of the war.
It comes after fresh claims Russia may have used chemical weapons in the under siege city of Mariupol – the latest in a long line of claims that Russia is guilty of widespread war crimes.
Moscow is gearing up for a renewed offensive in the eastern Donbas region, which has been the site of an eight-year long war between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists.
It has been widely suggested Russia’s main objective now is to secure the Donbas, after failing to take the major cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv.
Putin said “the military operation will continue until its final completion and the tasks that were set at the start of the operation are achieved”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops were guilty of horrific war crimes during their invasion.
Speaking to Lithuanian parliament, he said: “Hundreds of cases of rape have been recorded, including those of young girls and very young children. Even of a baby.”