Putin speech: Mr De Croo calls for calm response, opposes escalation

The Belgian leader, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (Flemish liberal), has called for people to remain calm and not to exacerbate the situation following fresh threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The Russian leader seized the opportunity of a televised address to attack the West announcing a partial military mobilisation in the Russian Federation.

The military mobilisation means 300,000 Russian reservists will now be deployed against the backdrop of the War in Ukraine.  Mr Putin accused the West of nuclear blackmail. He spoke of NATO officers considering the use of nuclear weapons and said Russia too possessed the means to bring devastation, often using weapons that are more modern than those of the western alliance.

Mr De Croo said “We must respond with the necessary calm.  We shouldn’t escalate the situation”. 

The Belgian leader also made it clear the West shouldn’t allow itself to be intimidated. “Our position must remain clear and we must support Ukraine”.

The premier pointed to the 55 million euros’ worth of weapons and supplies Belgium has sent to Ukraine: “We shall continue to do this in the fields in which we have strengths”.

Mr De Croo said this wasn’t the first time the Russian leader had threated the use of nukes: “At that time NATO reacted calmly and I expect it will do so again”.

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