(FiveNation.com)- Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear Friday that he isn’t playing around.
A day after Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian politician with deep Russian ties, was placed under house arrest by a Ukrainian court, Putin fired back with some bold statements.
Speaking to Russia’s security council, Putin described what he called a “cleansing” of Ukrainian politics, saying, “Judging by everything, and this is very sad, Ukraine is slowly but surely turning into some kind of polar opposite of Russia, some kind of anti-Russia, and into a platform from whose territory it seems we will constantly receive news requiring our special attention from a security point of view.”
Putin went on to say that Russia would be ready to respond to whatever it perceived as a threat “in a timely and appropriate manner.”
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also commented on the situation, branding the case a “witch hunt…doomed to fail,” tying the Ukrainian government’s actions to the West which he claimed was “everywhere” and supports anti-Russian policy “in everything.”
Medvedchuk is a well-known proponent of Russian interests in the Ukrainian government, having acted as an intermediary between Moscow and Kyiv in the past. Medvedchuk has even made the claim that Putin is his daughter’s godfather. Medvedchuk was placed under house arrest until July 9 in the midst of an investigation into allegations of treason. If convicted, the Ukrainian politician could spend up to 15 years in prison.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy fired back on Friday saying that the actions against Medvedchuk and others were legitimate steps towards stopping Russia’s “malign influence.” In a blog post, Zelenskiy wrote, “For the first time in many years the number of oligarchs has not increased, but decreased. Minus Medvedchuk,” adding that, “With the help of legal tools, Medvedchuk was stripped of the possibility of using media assets and state property to openly attack the country and damage state security.”
Putin’s labeling of Ukraine as the “anti-Russia” is sure to raise eyebrows among political watchers around the world. Tensions have recently intensified between the two states, especially regarding the build-up of Russian troops along the border of eastern Ukraine and in Russian-occupied Crimea.