An ally of President Vladimir Putin issued a stark new nuclear warning to Ukraine and the West on Tuesday as referendums billed by Russia as a prelude to it annexing four Ukrainian regions entered their fifth and final day.
Moscow’s latest broadside came as European countries rushed to investigate unexplained leaks in two Russian natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea which will hinder efforts to restart the main line taking Russian gas to Germany.
The Kremlin, which has blamed technical problems for earlier cuts in Russian gas supplies to Europe, said it could not rule out sabotage, but did not say by whom and called for an investigation. Read more: Ukrainians fear suffering, political repression awaits them amid Russia referendums Russia’s confrontation with the West has driven up global inflation and sharpened energy and food crises in many countries since its Feb.
24 invasion of Ukraine, which was met by tough Western sanctions and Russian retaliatory measures. Tuesday’s nuclear warning by Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, is one of several issued by Putin and his associates in recent weeks.