Peskov said Russia was “afraid of Nato getting closer to our borders with its military infrastructure. Please take care of that. Don’t push us into the corner. No.” He described sanctions as “enemy, enemy-like for us. We entered the phase, the phase of a total war. And we in Russia, we will feel ourselves amongst war, because western European countries, United States, Canada, Australia, they actually — they actually — they are leading war against us in trade, in economy, in seizing our properties, in seizing our funds, in blocking our financial relations.”

Dmitry Peskov said in an interview on American television that the punitive sanctions levelled against Russia were “quite unfriendly” and made the country feel as it were at war with the US and its western allies.

The interview came amid more claims from UK and Ukrainian military intelligence that Russia’s war effort is in serious trouble.

As the Russian and Ukrainian sides were due to meet in Turkey for a new round of negotiations, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Russia was expected to bolster its flagging war effort by sending more than 1,000 mercenaries from the private Wagner military group into eastern Ukraine as the Kremlin continues to suffer heavy losses.

It was highly likely that Russia has been forced to redeploy Wagner personnel from Africa and Syria to eastern Ukraine, the MoD said.

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