Vladimir Putin warns Western countries of the real danger of nuclear war

The President of Russia Wladimir Putin warned Western powers on Thursday of the “real” danger of a Nuclear war in the event of an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, in a speech to the nation two weeks before a non-competitive presidential election.

Putin welcomed the advance of his troops on the Ukrainian front and warned of the “tragic consequences” if a Western country sent soldiers to Kiev, after French President Emmanuel Macron raised the possibility this week.

These countries “discussed the possibility of sending Western military contingents to Ukraine (…). But the consequences of these interventions would actually be even more tragic,” Putin told the Russian elite at Gostiny Dvor, a congress palace near Red Square from Moscow.

“They should be aware that we also have weapons capable of hitting targets on their territory. “Everything they invent at this moment not only inflames the world, but also poses a real threat of conflict in which nuclear weapons are used, which means destruction of civilization,” he said.

U.S. diplomatic spokesman Matthew Miller called Putin’s warning “irresponsible” and stressed that there was “no indication that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.”

– Military capabilities have ‘multiplied’, says Vladimir Putin –

The Kremlin chief appeared to be in a better position than a year ago, when his troops staged humiliating withdrawal attempts in southern and northeastern Ukraine after a failed attempt to take Kiev in the spring of 2022.

But since then, Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive has failed and its forces are now on the defensive, lacking ammunition and outnumbered by larger and better-armed Russian soldiers.

In mid-February, Moscow forces captured the fortified town of Avdiivka on the Eastern Front. Since then, they have continued their offensive in this sector.

“The military capabilities of the (Russian) armed forces have multiplied. They are making steady progress in several areas of the front,” Putin congratulated himself, adding that “the absolute majority of the Russian people” support the military operation in Ukraine.

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The soldiers stationed in Ukraine “will not retreat, they will not fail, they will not betray,” the president promised at the end of his almost two-hour speech.

The president also praised “the flexibility and resilience” of the Russian economy, which is resisting the avalanche of Western sanctions and focusing on the war machine and the Asian market.

The power of Russia and the silence about Navalny

In his speeches to the nation, Putin usually takes stock of the past year and sets out the country’s strategic direction.

The head of state outlined a program until 2030, at the end of the next presidential term, which he will most likely achieve in the unopposed elections on March 15-17.

He also used this platform to attack the West, which was portrayed as a corrupt enemy of the “traditional values” officially defended by the Kremlin.

“A family with many children must be the norm,” he demanded, against the background of serious demographic problems in the country, which were exacerbated by the attack on Ukraine and the flight of hundreds of thousands of people abroad.

After an initial part of the speech focused on the international situation, Putin continued to promise social assistance, especially for veterans and their families, and announced investments in infrastructure, education and new technologies.

The speech took place on the eve of the funeral in Moscow of his main opponent, anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny, who died in prison on February 16 under unclear circumstances.

The opposition team reported on Thursday that the funeral service “received calls from unknown people threatening them” and therefore refused to transport the body to the Moscow church where the funeral is to take place.

Putin, who never speaks Navalny’s name, has not publicly commented on the death, which caused uproar inside and outside the country.

SPRING: AFP

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