Putin warns: Nuclear war risk with West over Ukraine involvement

President Vladimir Putin warned Western nations on Thursday that their involvement in Ukraine could provoke a nuclear conflict, emphasizing that Russia possesses the capability to target the West.

Publication: 29.02.2024 - 15:12
Putin warns: Nuclear war risk with West over Ukraine involvement
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This statement escalates tensions to a level not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Putin, addressing Russian lawmakers and elites, accused the West of attempting to weaken Russia and highlighted the peril of their interference in what he considers Russia's domestic matters.

This nuclear caution follows comments by French President Emmanuel Macron about potentially deploying European NATO ground troops to Ukraine, a proposal that major Western powers quickly dismissed. Putin stressed, "We have weapons capable of reaching targets in their territory... This truly risks a nuclear weapon conflict and the annihilation of civilization. Don't they understand?!" Ahead of almost certain re-election for another six-year term in the March 15-17 presidential election, Putin praised Russia's significantly upgraded nuclear arsenal, the largest globally, stating, "Strategic nuclear forces are fully ready," and mentioned the deployment or near-completion of new-generation hypersonic nuclear weapons introduced in 2018.

Putin, expressing frustration, urged Western leaders to remember the outcomes of past attempts to invade Russia, referencing figures like Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte, and warned of more tragic consequences today. He accused Western politicians of trivializing war, suggesting they perceive it as a cartoon due to not facing recent security challenges like Russia.

Amid advancements by Russian forces in Ukraine, Putin declared the necessity to strengthen troops along its western borders, especially after Finland and Sweden's decision to join NATO. He refuted claims of Russian intentions to attack European countries as "nonsense" and vowed not to let the West drag Russia into a costly arms race.

Putin called for the development of Russia's defense-industrial complex to boost the country's scientific, technological, and industrial potential. While open to talks on nuclear strategic stability with the U.S., Putin criticized Washington for not engaging sincerely in discussions, accusing it of leveraging baseless claims against Russia to dictate the terms of negotiations advantageously for the U.S. He concluded, suggesting the U.S.'s approach is motivated by electoral politics rather than genuine diplomatic concerns.

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