MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that nuclear tensions were rising, though he insisted that “we have not gone crazy,” and Moscow would not be the first to deploy atomic weapons in its war on Ukraine.
Speaking more than nine months after his forces invaded their smaller, pro-West neighbor, Putin warned that the conflict could be “lengthy.”
Russian forces have missed most of their key military goals in their February 24 invasion, raising fears that the battlefield stalemate could see Moscow resort to its nuclear arsenal to achieve a breakthrough.
“We have not gone crazy. We are aware of what nuclear weapons are,” Putin said at a meeting of his human rights council. “We are not going to brandish them like a razor while running around the world.”
But he acknowledged the growing tensions, saying “such a threat is rising. Why make a secret out of it here?”
He added, however, that Russia would use a nuclear weapon only in response to an enemy strike.
“When we are struck, we strike back,” Putin said, stressing that Moscow’s strategy was based on a so-called retaliatory strike policy.
“But if we aren’t the first to use it under any circumstances, then we will not be the second to use them either, because the possibilities of using them in the event of a nuclear strike against our territory are very limited,” he added.
His comments drew an immediate rebuke from the United States.
“We think any loose talk of nuclear weapons is absolutely irresponsible,” US State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters. “It is dangerous, and it goes against the spirit of that statement that has been at the core of the nuclear nonproliferation regime since the Cold War.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, however, declared that the risk of nuclear weapons being used in the Ukraine conflict has lessened, thanks to international pressure on Russia.
“One thing has changed for the time being: Russia has stopped threatening to use nuclear weapons,” Scholz said in an interview with Germany’s Funke media group, adding that it was “in response to the international community marking a red line.”
“The priority now is for Russia to end the war immediately and withdraw its troops,” he said.
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RELATED: Ukraine war is going to ‘take a while,’ Putin says as he warns nuclear risk is increasing
Nearly 10 months after his invasion of Ukraine began, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday acknowledged that the conflict is “going to take a while,” as he also warned of the “increasing” threat of nuclear war.
Speaking at a meeting of Russia’s Human Rights Council at the Kremlin, Putin said Moscow will fight by “all available means at our disposal,” in what he insists on calling a “special military operation,” but also said he saw no immediate need to mobilize more troops.
“With regard to the protracted nature of the special military operation and its results, of course, it’s going to take a while, perhaps,” he said.
And without categorically ruling out the first use of nuclear weapons, Putin said he viewed the Russian nuclear arsenal as a deterrent rather than a provocation.
“As for the idea that Russia wouldn’t use such weapons first under any circumstances, then it means we wouldn’t be able to be the second to use them either – because the possibility to do so in case of an attack on our territory would be very limited,” he said.
RELATED: Putin vows to continue targeting Ukraine’s power grid
President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia will continue to strike Ukraine’s energy grid after waves of missile attacks that have left swaths of the country without clean water and electricity. Pope Francis broke down and cried as he spoke of the suffering of Ukrainians during a prayer at Rome’s Spanish Steps.
Russian forces have installed multiple rocket launchers at Ukraine’s shut-down Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to Ukrainian officials.
Ukraine’s nuclear company Energoatom said in a statement that Russian forces occupying the plant have placed several Grad multiple rocket launchers near one of its six nuclear reactors, which are all shut down. It said the offensive systems are located at new “protective structures” the Russians secretly built, “violating all conditions for nuclear and radiation safety”.
The claim could not be independently verified.
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter