"We reaffirm that any hostile actions on the part of the EU and its member states will continue to inevitably receive a harsh response," the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict continued on Thursday, as progress has been made to explore ways out of the crisis following a fresh round of talks in Turkey. Following are the latest developments of the situation.
UK pushes Ukraine not to conclude agreement with Russia yet - The Times
Britain has a tougher stance than the US, France and Germany on the issue of signing agreements between Russia and Ukraine, The Times reports citing a government source.
According to The Times source, London is concerned that the leadership of several Western countries is willing to push Zelensky to make concessions to Russia.
"Some of our allies may be too eager for him to make a deal,'' The Times quoted its source as saying.
In contrast, the UK does not intend to push for a deal between Russia and Ukraine anytime soon.
The British government believes that Ukraine should be in the strongest position to conclude any peace agreements, the source explained to The Times.
He also added that Prime Minister Boris Johnson supported the strengthening of sanctions against Russia until the Russian military leaves the territory of Ukraine.
Austria opposes embargo on Russian oil, gas supplies - chancellor
Austria opposes an embargo on the supplies of oil and natural gas from Russia to Europe because it’s strongly dependent on them, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Thursday.
The chancellor said Austria is strongly reliant on Russian gas supplies. "Therefore, we clearly rebuff any ideas about halting the imports of Russian gas or Russian oil," he said on OE-24 television.
Russia, India discussing creation of alternative transaction platform, says newspaper
Russia and India are considering the possibility of creating an alternative transaction platform for bilateral trade with settlements in rubles and rupees amid western sanctions against Moscow, the Economic Times newspaper reported on Thursday.
"India offered a number of such transaction platforms out of which the Russian authorities have accepted a particular network protocol," the paper wrote citing one of its sources. The new payments system will likely be installed at the headquarters of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Russia’s VEB development bank. The new system is likely to be put in place within a week, Economic Times said.
The system will ensure seamless transfer of import or export documents for rupee-ruble trades between partners in India and Russia, according to sources.
India and Russia may choose Russia’s Financial Messaging System, which is an analogue of the SWIFT interbank system for information transfer and payments, according to Bloomberg. The issue of using the Financial Messaging System will be discussed during Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to New Delhi that started on March 31.
The Indian government may allow Russia to invest and take loans on its domestic market, according to media reports. The transactions will be performed through the Russian account in the RBI, which has existed since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. This will enable India to lower the pressure of energy imports amid growing global prices for hydrocarbons on its economy.
Austria expects Gazprom to provide details on payment for gas from April 1 - chancellor
Austria expects Gazprom will provide details about the currency required to pay for Russian gas supplies, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said on Thursday, referring to Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles from April 1.
"The fact is that Austria has valid contracts with Gazprom in euros and dollars. In Germany, the situation is the same," he said on OE-24 television. "We haven’t yet received any other information from Gazprom that there will be some change in the contract by Gazprom."
"We must now wait for what will be presented to us in order to make an assessment," he said.
Russia bans top EU officials from entry. On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that "the top leadership" of the European Union (EU) has been barred from entering Russia in response to Brussels' massive sanctions.
The restrictions apply to a number of European commissioners, heads of EU military structures, and the vast majority of lawmakers of the European parliament promoting anti-Russian policies. The "blacklist" also includes representatives of the governments and parliaments of some EU member states, public figures and media workers.
"We reaffirm that any hostile actions on the part of the EU and its member states will continue to inevitably receive a harsh response," the Russian ministry stated.
Turkey may host Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers for peace talks within two weeks. "We are working to bring the foreign ministers together," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding that "both sides said they wanted to come when they were ready. It is not possible to give an exact date."
Elaborating on the presence of Russian businessman Roman Abramovich at the peace talks in Istanbul, the minister praised his role as a "backchannel" figure for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Abramovich was "sincerely" working to end the conflict and making "contributions" to the process, Cavusoglu said.
Russia unveils emails showing Hunter Biden's key role in funding pathogen research in Ukraine. The Russian Defence Ministry has published correspondence between the US President’s son and employees of the US Department of Defense Threat Reduction Office, as well as Pentagon contractors in Ukraine.
The emails suggest that Hunter Biden was instrumental in raising funds for the American contractors, Black and Veach and Metabiota, enabling the companies to engage in pathogen studies on the territory of Ukraine.
Russia announces destruction of Ukrainian fuel bases. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced that his forces used high-precision cruise missiles to destroy military fuel bases in Nipropetrovsk, Lisichansk, Chuguev, and Novomoskovsk.
The Russian military also took control of the Zolotaya Niva village, and neutralized four command and control posts, one anti-aircraft defense system, one missile launch system, and two multiple rocket launchers.
On the other hand, the troops of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Luhansk advanced five kilometers in an offensive after ending the resistance of the nationalist militiamen in Zhyltovka and are now fighting on the outskirts of Kreminna.
Russia is redeploying its troops from Kiev and Chernihiv directions to Ukraine's eastern regions. "Some personnel are being redeployed. Some of them appear in the Kharkiv and Donetsk directions," said Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.