Kremlin defends logic for actions in Ukraine, berates ‘hostile’ EU

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends a news conference in Moscow

MOSCOW -Russia on Monday doubled down on the logic for sending its forces into Ukraine as it condemned a European Union decision to fund the delivery of weapons to Kyiv.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said at a news briefing that Western arms supplies to Ukraine showed that Moscow was right to try to demilitarise its neighbour.

He said that many Russians were deeply pained by what was happening to their relatives in Ukraine, but blamed it on the actions of Ukrainian nationalists.

“The European Union is an association that is taking an unfriendly position towards us and taking measures that are not friendly, but hostile towards us,” he told reporters.

Weapons supplies to Ukraine would become “an extremely dangerous and destabilizing factor” that would not help restore stability but could in the long run have much more dangerous consequences, Peskov said.

“This, once again, confirms that Russia was right about the measures that are being taken in order to ensure the demilitarisation of the country,” he said.

The West has stepped up arms supplies to Ukraine to help it defend itself against the biggest invasion of a European state since World War Two. Moscow says it is engaged in a “special military operation” to protect civilians.

Peskov said, without providing evidence, that many Ukrainians were being used as human shields in what he called a crime by Ukrainian nationalists. He described them as victims of their country’s propaganda.

“Not only in the presidential administration, but throughout Russia, the vast majority of the population has friends or relatives who live in Ukraine. Naturally, everyone’s hearts are aching for what is happening to these relatives,” he said.

He declined to comment on casualties suffered by Russian forces, referring the question to the defence ministry.

He also declined to elaborate on President Vladimir Putin’s instructions at the weekend for Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces to be placed on a “special regime” of alertness, or to comment on whether there was a risk of confrontation between Russia and NATO.

(Reporting by Reuters in Moscow; editing by John Stonestreet and Bernadette Baum)

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