Russian President Vladimir Putin challenged Western nations by suggesting his invasion of Ukraine is far from over, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported Thursday.
“Today we hear that (the West wants) to defeat us on the battlefield,” Putin said, according to RIA Novosti. “Well, what can I say? Let them try.”
Speaking at a meeting with leaders of the Kremlin-controlled parliament Thursday, Russia’s president accused Western allies of fueling the hostilities, charging that “the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian.”
“It’s a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it looks like it’s heading in that direction,” Putin said.
“Everybody should know that largely speaking, we haven’t even yet started anything in earnest,” he added.
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Civilian military trainings begin in Kyiv
Civilians in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, are receiving military training in hopes of bolstering the city’s defenses against Russia.
Skills included in the trainings are procedures for battling fires and handling explosives, safety trainings and how to act when exposed to radiation and chemical pollution, Kyiv’s city council said Saturday in a news release. Providing knowledge about emergency first aid is a key objective.
“Eighty percent of those killed in hostilities are people who lose a lot of blood. And it is important to know how to save the life of a wounded person in the conditions of war,” Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said in the release.
The programs are targeted in particular toward women and students, though anyone in the civilian population can participate in the trainings, the release said.
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50,000 explosives defused in Kyiv region
More than 50,000 explosives already have been defused in and around Kyiv, the region’s military administration said Saturday. Nearly 30 villages in the Kyiv region, making up more than 70 square miles of land, have been swept for explosives which were defused when found.
US to China: Support for Russia complicates relations
In five hours of talks in their first-to-face meeting since October, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday he expressed deep concern to Chinese officials about their country’s stance on Russia’s actions in Ukraine and did not believe Beijing’s protestations that it is neutral in the conflict.
“We are concerned about the PRC’s alignment with Russia,” Blinken told reporters after the meeting in the Indonesian resort of Bali. He said it is difficult to be “neutral” in a conflict in which there is a clear aggressor but that even it were possible, “I don’t believe China is acting in a way that is neutral.”
Contributing: Associated Press