Putin warns West over Ukraine armaments, nuclear arsenal in news conference | Vladimir Putin News

EditorLast Update :
Putin warns West over Ukraine armaments, nuclear arsenal in news conference | Vladimir Putin News

Russia’s president reiterated that attacking NATO countries was a ‘crazy’ idea but warned against Ukraine interference.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that his country would not rule out using nuclear weapons if its sovereignty or territory were threatened.

On Wednesday, Putin met in person with leaders from international news agencies, including Reuters and The Associated Press, for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

He answered questions ranging from the threat of nuclear war to possible repercussions for countries that support Ukraine’s efforts to launch attacks within Russian territory.

When asked about the prospect of using Russia’s nuclear arsenal, Putin said it was not out of the question.

“For some reason, the West believes that Russia will never use it,” Putin responded, pointing towards the country’s 2020 nuclear doctrine.

It authorises the Russian government to consider nuclear options if a weapon of mass destruction is used against the country or if “the very existence of the state is put under threat”.

“We have a nuclear doctrine. Look what it says. If someone’s actions threaten our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we consider it possible for us to use all means at our disposal. This should not be taken lightly, superficially.”

Attack on NATO ‘rubbish’

Putin also took the opportunity once again to brush aside fears that Russia could attack countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“You should not make Russia out to be the enemy. You’re only hurting yourself with this, you know?” Putin said at the news conference.

Article 5 of the treaty establishes that an attack against one country in the organisation is considered an attack against all members.

Putin has repeatedly dismissed the idea of launching an attack on NATO, despite tensions with its member states.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CBS News earlier this year that Putin’s “aggression” could reach Europe, prompting a NATO response. And in April, Germany’s top military leader said “an attack against NATO soil could be possible” in five to eight years.

Still, Putin reiterated his stance on Wednesday. “They thought that Russia wanted to attack NATO,” he said. “Have you gone completely crazy? That is as thick as this table. Who came up with this? It is just complete nonsense, you know? Total rubbish.”

Putin issues warning over Russia strikes

However, Putin also hinted at the possibility of heightened tensions – and even “asymmetrical” military steps – if Western countries like Germany and the United States were to supply Ukraine with weapons used on Russian soil.

He explained that the use of certain weapons, including the use of advanced missile technology, would be tantamount to participation in Russia’s war with Ukraine.

“That would mark their direct involvement in the war against the Russian Federation, and we reserve the right to act the same way,” he said.

“If they consider it possible to deliver such weapons to the combat zone to launch strikes on our territory and create problems for us, why don’t we have the right to supply weapons of the same type to some regions of the world where they can be used to launch strikes on sensitive facilities of the countries that do it to Russia?”

His remarks came after Germany decided in January to supply Leopard 2A6 battle tanks to Ukraine. And last month, both Germany and the US agreed to allow Ukraine to use certain missiles to hit targets inside Russia.

The Associated Press reported earlier on Wednesday that Ukraine has indeed used US weapons to strike within Russia, though Washington restricts which arms can be used.

Advanced weapons like the Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) and other long-range missiles remain off-limits.

Asked about the prospect of a wider range of Western missiles being approved for Ukraine’s use in Russia, Putin was defiant: “We will improve our air defence systems and destroy them.”