Russian President Vladimir Putin has described sanctions imposed by Western nations over his invasion of Ukraine as “akin to a declaration of war”.
“But thank God it has not come to that,” added Putin, who also warned that any attempt to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine would be seen as participation in the armed conflict.
Putin made the remarks while speaking to a group of women flight attendants at an Aeroflot training centre near the Russian capital, Moscow.
“The current leadership needs to understand that if they continue doing what they are doing, they risk the future of Ukrainian statehood,” he added.
Putin also said he had no plans to declare martial law in Russia, adding that such a step would only be taken in “instances of external aggression, in defined areas of military activity”.
“But we don’t have such a situation and I hope we won’t have one,” he said.