Putin Warns Of Nuclear War If West Sends Troops To Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western countries on Thursday that they risk initiating a nuclear war if they send troops into Ukraine, saying Russia has the weapons to strike targets in the West. 

During his annual state of the nation address, the Russian leader said Western nations “must realize that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. All this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilization. Don’t they get that?” 

Although Ukraine’s Western allies have sent vast munitions to the Kyiv government in its fight against the 2022 Russian invasion, none has said it would send troops to fight alongside Ukrainian forces.

Earlier this week, however, French President Emmanuel Macron said that while there are no plans in place to send Western troops to fight in Ukraine, the possibility remains. 

“There’s no consensus today to send in an official, endorsed manner, troops on the ground. But in terms of dynamics, nothing can be ruled out,” Macron said at a news conference. 

Several European leaders pushed back on Macron’s troop suggestion as did the United States. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the West’s main military alliance, and thus Kyiv’s Western allies are not obligated to defend it.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that Europe’s path for several generations is now being determined amid Russia’s invasion of his country. 

“We have seen in the past how someone else tried to determine the fate of other nations. This happened in the Balkans, in eastern Europe, and in all other parts of Europe. Now Putin wants to do exactly the same,” Zelenskyy said as he attended a summit of southeastern European leaders in Albania.

Zelenskyy said it is “critical for all free nations” that Putin lose the war, and that the Russian leader’s failures “are our security.” 

In his Moscow speech, Putin said Russia’s “strategic nuclear forces are in a state of full readiness.” He noted that new-generation hypersonic nuclear weapons he first spoke about in 2018 had either been deployed or were at a stage where development and testing were being completed. 

Visibly angry, Putin suggested Western politicians recall the fate of those like Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and France’s Napoleon Bonaparte who had unsuccessfully invaded Russia in the past.

“But now the consequences will be far more tragic,” Putin said. “They think it (war) is a cartoon,” he said. He accused Western politicians of forgetting what an actual war meant because they had not faced the same security challenges as Russians had in the last three decades. 

The Russian leader said Moscow’s forces now have the initiative on the battlefield in Ukraine and advanced against outmanned Ukrainian troops.

He dismissed as “nonsense” Western suggestions that Russia would advance beyond Ukraine and attack other countries. 

Putin said Russia was open to discussions on nuclear strategic stability with the U.S. but suggested that Washington had no serious interest in such talks and was more focused on making false claims about Moscow’s alleged aims.

“Recently there have been more and more unsubstantiated accusations against Russia, for example that we are allegedly going to deploy nuclear weapons in space. Such innuendo… is a ploy to draw us into negotiations on their terms, which are favorable only to the United States,” he said. 

On Wednesday, Zelenskyy praised Belgium for committing to take part in a Czech-led initiative to supply badly needed ammunition to Ukrainian forces.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said Belgium would provide $216 million in funding for the effort.

In the U.S., the Senate has approved $60 billion in new Ukraine aid, but a Republican bloc of lawmakers in the House of Representatives opposes it. House Speaker Mike Johnson has not brought it to a vote in the full chamber, where it likely would be approved.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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