Vladimir Putin renews nuclear threats against the West

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Vladimir Putin has raised the specter of a nuclear conflagration in what he said would be Russia’s response to the dangers posed by the West.

In a speech in Red Square to mark the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II, the Russian president praised soldiers fighting in his invasion of Ukraine and pledged to stand firm against Western attempts to contain Russia.

“We reject the exceptional pretexts of any country or alliance, and we know what will happen when such ambitions go unchecked,” Putin said Thursday, in an apparent reference to NATO, which expanded to include Sweden and Finland after its invasion of Ukraine.

He added: “Russia will do its best not to allow a global conflict to occur, but at the same time, we will not allow anyone to threaten us.” Putin added that our strategic forces are always in a state of combat readiness, referring to Russia’s arsenal of nuclear weapons, which is the largest in the world.

The parade of military equipment that passed through Lenin’s Mausoleum outside the Kremlin was crowned by three RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, which Russia claims are capable of hitting any target around the world.

Putin’s latest warning to the West came at what the Russian leader feels is an inflection point, more than two years after his large-scale war in Ukraine.

The Russian military is gradually advancing against under-armed and outnumbered Ukrainian forces, who are struggling to hold their positions while awaiting the arrival of US weapons funded by the recently approved $61 billion aid package.

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But the military parade in Moscow, held amid an unseasonable blast of snow, also highlighted the losses suffered by Russia’s armed forces.

The only tank on display was the T-34, the legendary Soviet armored vehicle from World War II, which traditionally opens.

Russia lost more than 3,000 tanks during the war, the same number it lost before the invasion, according to a February report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Putin told his forces in Ukraine that Russia was going through a “difficult period of time” and said they enjoyed the support of the entire country.

In separate statements by commanders fighting in Ukraine, which the Kremlin said were delivered a day earlier, he said the economic and social development of all of Russia depended on the success of the invasion.

“We have all the possibilities to achieve these goals. But only on one condition – your successful action on the battlefield. This is the main link at the moment,” Putin said.

Russia has sought to deter the United States and its NATO allies from stepping up their support for Ukraine by making veiled threats about its nuclear arsenal.

“The Yaris family is floating through Red Square, and you can’t help but remember that someone is planning to defeat us on the battlefield. You really want to ask them how the hell [they’ll do that]Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the state foreign news network RT, wrote on social media.

The Defense Ministry said on Monday that Putin had ordered it to conduct exercises on the use of tactical nuclear weapons in response to “provocative statements” from Western leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron, who floated the idea of ​​sending Western forces to fight in the country. Ukraine.

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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that the exercises served as a warning to the West against further escalating tensions with Russia.

“We are warning our opponents that their escalatory tendencies make it necessary for us to take steps to fundamentally strengthen our deterrence,” Interfax quoted Ryabkov as saying.

Ryabkov also hinted that Moscow could change its nuclear doctrine, which allows a nuclear strike only in response to a hostile nuclear attack or if Russia’s existence as a state is threatened.

“At the moment there are no such changes, but the situation itself is changing,” Ryabkov said. “So the relationship of our essential documents in the field to our security requirements is subject to constant analysis.”

However, Putin downplayed the importance of the exercises, the first tactical nuclear exercises previously announced by Russia.

“There is nothing unusual here, it is a planned action,” Putin said in his statements to the leaders.

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