Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday praised the battle-readiness of his armed forces and his ever-developing hypersonic missiles — as the Ukraine government called for a state of emergency.
Putin made his latest clear warning in a video address as he continued to move more than 150,000 troops on the borders with Ukraine, which declared it would introduce a 30-day nationwide state of emergency, Agence France-Presse said.
The move, which is awaiting parliamentary approval, would allow additional protection for public facilities, restrictions on traffic, and additional transport and document checks.
In an address marking the Defender of the Fatherland Day holiday, Putin claimed that he was “always open for direct and honest dialogue, for the search for diplomatic solutions to the most complex problems.”
But “the interests of Russia, the security of our citizens, are non-negotiable for us,” he declared, according to AFP.
His address came after parliament’s upper house, the Federation Council, gave him unanimous approval to deploy “peacekeepers” to two pro-Russian regions of Ukraine the Kremlin has declared as independent.
That would include areas currently controlled by Ukraine’s military, Kremlin officials had confirmed Wednesday.
As Russian tanks and other heavy military machinery continued to roar through the outskirts Donetsk, one of the rebel-run regions the Kremlin now calls independent, Putin praised the “professionalism” of his military.
He also gave chilling warnings about his plans to further develop his arsenal.
“We will continue to develop advanced weapon systems, including hypersonic and those based on new physical principles, and expand the use of advanced digital technologies and elements of artificial intelligence,” Putin said, according to AFP.
“Such complexes are truly the weapons of the future, which significantly increase the combat potential of our armed forces,” he crowed.
Western officials have been warning for weeks the Russian leader has been preparing an all-out invasion of Ukraine.
After weeks of trying to project calm, Ukrainian authorities signaled increasing concern on Wednesday.
The Foreign Ministry advised against travel to Russia and recommended anyone there leave immediately, saying Moscow’s “aggression” could lead to a significant reduction in consular services.
The head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council called for a nationwide state of emergency Wednesday.
“The main aim of the Russian Federation is to destabilize Ukraine from inside and to achieve its objective. To prevent this from happening, we decided today and made this decision today,” Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said, according to CNN.
“These are all preventative measures, in order to preserve peace and calm in the country and for the economy to continue to work.”
On Tuesday, President Biden and a slew of other leaders announced tough new sanctions against Russia for “beginning” an invasion of Ukraine but said there was still time to avoid war.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged Western leaders to get even tougher.
“We call on partners to impose more sanctions on Russia now,” he wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Now the pressure needs to step up to stop Putin. Hit his economy and cronies. Hit more. Hit hard. Hit now.”
However, Russian ambassador in the U.S. Anatoly Antonov retorted that “sanctions cannot solve a thing.”
“It is hard to imagine that there is a person in Washington who expects Russia to revise its foreign policy under a threat of restrictions,” he said in a statement on Facebook.