Sanctions could be justification for war, says Russian official

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Russian Security Council Vice President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that, in certain circumstances, sanctions against Moscow could be seen as an act of aggression and a justification for war.

“I would like to stress once again that, under certain circumstances, such hostile measures can also qualify as an act of international aggression. And even as a casus belli (justification for war),” Medvedev said, adding that Russia has the right to defend itself.

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Russia has faced a barrage of crippling economic sanctions from Western countries in response to the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, which it calls a “special military operation”.

Medvedev, a former Russian president who was once seen as a liberal, has emerged as one of the war’s fiercest advocates, delivering a series of scathing denunciations to the West.

Russia open to dialogue on nuclear non-proliferation

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Moscow was open to dialogue on strategic stability and nuclear non-proliferation, but the Kremlin said no talks with Washington were in the pipeline for now.

Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, both Moscow and Washington stressed the importance of maintaining communication on the issue of nuclear weapons. The two countries are by far the world’s biggest nuclear powers, with around 11,000 nuclear warheads between them.

“Russia is open to dialogue to ensure strategic stability, preserve regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and improve the situation in the field of arms control,” Putin told a legal forum in his hometown of St. .

Speaking later on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that there has been no direct contact between Putin and US President Joe Biden since Russia launched what he calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine in February.

Asked if there were any plans for strategic stability talks between the two countries, he said: “Unfortunately, there are still no tangible plans for that.”

Putin said any effort to extend gun control would require “meticulous joint work” but could prevent a repetition of “what is happening today in Donbass”.

Russia’s leader says Moscow invaded Ukraine to protect ethnic and Russian-speaking Russians in the eastern Donbas region from Kiev’s persecution. He repeated those allegations on Thursday, accusing Ukraine of “crimes against humanity”.

Ukraine and the West reject these accusations and say the invasion of Russia is an unprovoked act of aggression aimed at seizing Ukrainian territory and overthrowing President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Source: CNN Brasil

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