Putin slams sanctions as ‘illegitimate’

President Vladimir Putin has denounced sanctions imposed on Russia as “illegitimate”.

Addressing a government meeting, Putin said Western governments were deceiving their own people as they move to punish Moscow financially for its incursion in Ukraine.

He added that Russia would calmly solve its problems.

Russia has also warned the West that it is working on a broad response to sanctions that would be swift and felt in the West’s most sensitive areas.

“Russia’s reaction will be swift, thoughtful and sensitive for those it addresses,” Dmitry Birichevsky, the director of the foreign ministry’s department for economic cooperation, was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.

This comes after United States President Joe Biden banned imports of Russian oil and gas and Britain said it will phase out Russian energy products by year’s end.

The European Commission also announces a plan to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year.

“By the end of this year, we can replace 100 billion cubic metres of gas imports from Russia. That is two-thirds of what we import from them,” EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told reporters in Strasbourg, France on Tuesday.

The EU is heavily reliant on Russian fossil fuels. Some 90 percent of the gas used in the EU is imported, according to the commission, with Russia providing 45 percent of those imports at various levels to EU member states in 2021.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for more Western action against Moscow as Russian advance continues.