Putin says Russia ready to use nuclear weapons if threatened

Estimated read time 2 min read

President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons if there is a threat to Russian statehood, sovereignty or independence, but said he hoped that the U.S. would refrain from actions that could trigger a nuclear conflict.

Putin’s statement was another blunt warning to the West ahead of a presidential vote this week in which he’s all but certain to win another six-year term.

In an interview with Russian state television released early Wednesday, Putin described U.S. President Joe Biden as a veteran politician who fully understands possible dangers of escalation, and said that he doesn’t think that the world is heading to a nuclear war.

At the same time, he said that Russia’s nuclear forces are in full readiness and “from the military-technical viewpoint, we’re prepared.”

Putin said that Moscow is ready to use nuclear weapons in case of a threat to “the existence of the Russian state, our sovereignty and independence.”

The Russian leader has repeatedly talked about his readiness to use nuclear weapons since launching the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The most recent such threat came in his state-of-the-nation address last month, when he warned the West that deepening its involvement in the fighting in Ukraine would risk a nuclear war.

Asked in the interview if he has ever considered using battlefield nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Putin responded that there has been no need for that.

He also voiced confidence that Moscow will achieve its goals in Ukraine and held the door open for talks, emphasizing that any deal would require firm guarantees from the West.

Putin said that a recent spike in Ukrainian drone attacks deep inside Russia is part of efforts to derail the country’s three-day presidential election, which starts Friday and which he is all but certain to win.

Russian authorities reported another major attack by Ukrainian drones early Wednesday. One of the drones hit an oil refinery in the Ryazan region, injuring at least two people and sparking a fire. Another drone was downed as it was approaching a refinery near St. Petersburg and 30 others were downed in the southwestern Voronezh region.


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