Putin Reaffirms Russia’s Nuclear Stance Amid Rising Tensions with the West

President Vladimir Putin has reiterated Russia’s stance on using nuclear weapons if the country’s sovereignty is under threat. During a rare session with international journalists at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin warned that Russia could supply long-range weapons to other nations to target Western territories, mirroring the West’s provision of arms to Ukraine.

Putin’s statement comes in response to NATO allies allowing Ukraine to use Western-supplied weapons against Russian targets. He stressed that such actions by the West could lead to “very serious problems” and undermine international security. The U.S. and Germany have recently authorized Ukraine to strike certain targets on Russian soil with long-range weapons.

A Western official and a U.S. senator disclosed that Ukraine has used U.S. weapons to strike within Russia, following new guidelines from President Joe Biden aimed at defending Kharkiv. Putin argued that some of these Western-supplied weapons involve personnel from those countries, suggesting that Russia might take “asymmetrical” actions in other regions as a response.

Putin highlighted the clarity of Russia’s nuclear doctrine, emphasizing that nuclear weapons could be used if actions threaten Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He reminded that Russia’s battlefield nuclear weapons are more powerful than those used by the U.S. in World War II.

Regarding Russia-U.S. relations, Putin stated that they would remain unchanged regardless of the outcome of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. He commented on Trump’s recent felony conviction, describing it as part of America’s internal political struggle.

Putin also addressed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, claiming that the West had missed opportunities to end the fighting. He alleged that Ukraine’s casualties are significantly higher than Russia’s, although these claims are unverified. Additionally, he mentioned that Ukraine holds over 1,300 Russian troops, while Russia has more than 6,400 Ukrainian soldiers in captivity.

On the case of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, Putin indicated that the U.S. is actively working to secure his release but emphasized that such matters should be handled discreetly and professionally, hinting at a potential prisoner swap.

The St. Petersburg forum, usually a platform for promoting Russia’s development and attracting investors, saw a reduced presence of Western officials and journalists due to sanctions imposed on Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

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