Putin on Nuclear Weapons: “We Haven’t Gone Mad”

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On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a public war update during a televised session of his Human Rights Council. The session and questions and answers were very controlled.

Putin dismissed concerns that he would use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. He said they’re a deterrent. In the past, Putin has said Russia will use “all available means” to protect its territory, including the annexed areas of Ukraine.

“We haven’t gone mad,” he said during the televised session. “We are fully aware of what nuclear weapons are.”

Putin lashed out at the United States and NATO, saying, “Russia does not have tactical nuclear weapons in other countries, unlike the US.”

This was in reference to the fact that some NATO members in Europe, including extending as far east as Turkey, do act as host countries to many of the US tactical nukes under the NATO defense umbrella. “Our nuclear forces are in a more advanced state than any other country in the world,” he continued.

“Yes, we will do this by various ways and means. First of all, of course, we will focus on peaceful means, but if nothing else remains, we will defend ourselves with all the means at our disposal,” Putin said.

In other words, he’s not planning to use nuclear weapons unless he needs them to defend Russia. He sees NATO in Ukraine as an existential threat.


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