Putin likens Ukraine’s forces to Nazis and threatens standoff in the Arctic

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.

Russian president hits back at invasion accusations as Nato accuses Kremlin of ‘blatant violation’ of Ukraine’s sovereignty

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has hit back at accusations that he has effectively invaded Ukraine, accusing Kiev’s forces of behaving like Nazis in the conflict in the east and ominously threatening to take his standoff with the west into the disputed Arctic.

Hours after Barack Obama accused Russia of sending troops into Ukraine and fuelling an escalation in the battle, and as the government in Kiev indicated that it wanted to join Nato, Putin retorted that the Ukrainian army was the real villain, targeting residential areas of towns and cities as German troops had done in the former Soviet Union.

He added that Russians and Ukrainians “are practically one people”, reprising a theme of an earlier statement in which he referred to the disputed areas of south-eastern Ukraine as Novorossiya, harking back to tsarist times, when the area was ruled from Moscow.

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