Putin warned Ukraine will fight ‘tooth and nail’ if he cuts gas and invades: ‘Not scared!’

Biden and Putin in talks amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine

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The Russian President, who had already been putting pressure on the West by reducing gas supplies, ramped up the tension further when he sent over 100,000 troops to the Ukraine-Russia border. Naftogaz, the Ukraine gas giant, warned Russia was using gas as a “geopolitical weapon” when he slashed supplies of gas travelling into the country to speed up certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The controversial pipeline will transit gas from Russia into Germany, and it bypasses Ukraine and Poland.

But now, the company’s chief advisor fears Russia will launch a military attack on its neighbour too.

Olexander Scherba told Express.co.uk: ”Putin knows for sure that Ukraine will fight back and it will cost him immensely if he decides that.

“Ukraine will fight tooth and nail.

“His plan A is to pressure Ukraine and sow discord within Ukraine but also to weaken the West and scare the West.

“Unfortunately, these scare tactics work more with the West than they do with Ukraine.”

The West has indeed been scrambling to help Ukraine avert danger and had been trying to get Russia to boost gas supplies in Europe.

And following a virtual meeting between Mr Putin and Mr Biden, Washington claimed that Nord Stream 2 can be used as leverage over Russia to prevent an invasion.

The US called for the pipeline to be abandoned if Russia decides to invade, in a move the Americans likely think can discourage Russia from invading.

But Mr Scherba didn’t buy the argument that the West has leverage over Russia.

He told Express.co.uk: “If Putin attacks, he doesn’t get what he wants.
“But there is the very same logic from the other side that if Putin doesn’t get what he wants, then he will attack.

“I don’t see much difference between one or the other in the way to approach.

“We are a little bit worried that Putin doesn’t get what he wants no matter how damaging it is for the transatlantic relationship and for Europe just because he raised the stakes immensely over the last few weeks.”

But back in October, when Express.co.uk spoke Naftogaz’s CEO Yuiry Vitrenko before there were even reports of Russian troops at the border, he warned of military conflict.

He thought that Mr Putin, who has been restricting gas travelling Ukraine through other pipelines, could deliver a hammer blow to Ukraine.

He told Express.co.uk: “The worst-case scenario is that there could be no gas flowing through Ukraine, it would allow him to blackmail Ukraine so could lead to full-scale war.

“For example, forget about Crimea, take back Donbass, the occupied regions, but on Putin’s terms, and basically the whole of Ukraine would become part of the Russian world.”

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Back in 2014, Russian troops took control of Crimea before annexing the peninsula after the region voted to join the Russian Federation in a disputed local referendum.

It resulted in the ongoing conflict in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian military, causing more than 14,000 deaths and 24,000 injuries.

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