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Putin warns the West: Russia is ready for nuclear war

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event of a threat to the state
  • Meanwhile, a drone reportedly hit a national security building in Russia
Update : 13 Mar 2024, 10:05 PM

President Vladimir Putin told the West on Wednesday that Russia was technically ready for nuclear war and that if the US sent troops to Ukraine, it would be considered a significant escalation of the conflict.

Putin, speaking ahead of a March 15-17 election which is certain to give him another six years in power, added that the nuclear war scenario was not “rushing” up and he saw no need for the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

“From a military-technical point of view, we are, of course, ready,” Putin, 71, told Rossiya-1 television and news agency RIA when asked whether Russia was really ready for a nuclear war.

Putin said the US understood that if it deployed American troops on Russian territory - or to Ukraine - Russia would treat the move as an intervention. Moscow claims to have annexed four regions of Ukraine and says they are now fully part of Russia.

“(In the US) there are enough specialists in the field of Russian-American relations and in the field of strategic restraint,” said Putin.

“Therefore, I don’t think that here everything is rushing to it (nuclear confrontation), but we are ready for this.”

The Biden administration has said it has no plans to send troops to Ukraine but has stressed the need to approve a stalled security aid bill that would ensure Ukrainian troops got the weapons they need to continue the war, now in its third year.

It did not immediately respond on Wednesday to a request for comment on Putin’s remarks, but the White House has said in the past it has seen no sign that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons despite what it calls Putin’s “nuclear saber-rattling.”

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior Ukrainian presidential official, told Reuters in a statement he viewed Putin’s nuclear warning as propaganda designed to intimidate the West.

“Realizing that things are going the wrong way, Putin continues to use classic nuclear rhetoric. With the old Soviet hope - ‘be scared and retreat!’,” said Podolyak, who said he believed such talk showed Putin was afraid of losing the war.

The Ukraine war has triggered the deepest crisis in Moscow’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Putin has often warned of the risks of nuclear war but says he has never felt the need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

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