Tags: russia | vladimir putin | nuclear | weapons | deterrent | ukraine | u.s.

Putin Claims Nuclear War Risk Is Increasing

By    |   Thursday, 08 December 2022 11:12 AM EST

President Vladimir Putin claimed the risk of a nuclear exchange is rising as a result of his nation's unprovoked war on Ukraine.

"Such a threat is growing, it would be wrong to hide it," Putin said Wednesday at a meeting of Russia's Human Rights Council at the Kremlin.

"We have not gone mad, we are aware of what nuclear weapons are," he said, adding: "We aren't about to run around the world brandishing this weapon like a razor."

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But Putin hinted his country did not rule out using nuclear weapons in a first strike.

"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.

Putin was apparently referring to a military view that a preemptive strike on Russia, presumably by the U.S., could destroy his country's ability to respond effectively with a retaliatory strike against on the U.S.

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"Nevertheless, we have a strategy ... namely, as a defense, we consider weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons – it is all based around the so-called retaliatory strike. That is, when we are struck, we strike in response."

Putin complained the U.S. had deployed nuclear weapons beyond its borders.

"We do not have nuclear weapons, including tactical ones, on the territory of other countries, but the Americans do – in Turkey, and in a number of other European countries," he said.

In October, media reports indicated the Biden administration was accelerating the deployment of modernized B61 tactical nuclear weapons to NATO bases in Europe.

The tactical weapons were expected to be delivered this month in an effort to bolster U.S. defenses in case Russia contemplated the use of WMDs in Ukraine or elsewhere in Europe.

Later in his remarks Putin appeared to backtrack on the threat.

"We have not gone crazy. We are aware of what nuclear weapons are,” Putin said. "We have these means, they are in a more advanced and modern form than those of any other nuclear country, this is obvious.”

Putin also acknowledged his "special military operation" in Ukraine is taking longer than expected but hailed the seizure of his neighbor's territory as a major achievement and said his country's nuclear weapons are deterring escalation of the conflict.

Russia began its unprovoked attack on Ukraine on Feb. 24.

In Zaporizhzhia, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog has warned of the risk of a nuclear accident at Ukraine's largest nuclear plant, which has been occupied by Russian forces since March, CNN reported.

Ukraine last month narrowly escaped disaster during fighting that rocked Europe's largest atomic power plant with a barrage of shells, some falling near reactors and damaging a radioactive waste storage building, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said.

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President Vladimir Putin claimed the risk of a nuclear exchange is rising as a result of his nation's unprovoked war on Ukraine.
russia, vladimir putin, nuclear, weapons, deterrent, ukraine, u.s.
Thursday, 08 December 2022 11:12 AM
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