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Putin reiterates that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons if its sovereignty is at risk

President Vladimir Putin has stated that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons if its independence or sovereignty is endangered.

By The Associated Press

On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons if its sovereignty or independence is threatened, issuing another clear warning to the West just before an election where he is almost certain to secure another six-year term.

Since invading Ukraine in February 2022, the Russian leader has repeatedly mentioned his readiness to use nuclear weapons. He recently warned the West in his state-of-the-nation address last month that deepening involvement in the fighting in Ukraine would risk a nuclear war.

In a recent interview with Russian state television released early Wednesday, Putin was asked if he has ever considered using battlefield nuclear weapons in Ukraine. He responded that there has been no need for that. He also mentioned that he doesn’t believe that the world is heading for a nuclear war, describing U.S. President Joe Biden as a seasoned politician who fully comprehends the potential dangers of escalation.

Nevertheless, the remarks seemed to convey a message to the West that he is prepared to use all methods to safeguard his gains in Ukraine.

According to Putin, in accordance with the country’s security doctrine, Moscow is prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event of a threat to “the existence of the Russian state, our sovereignty and independence.”

“The entirety of our strategy, we haven’t altered it,” he said.

In an apparent reference to NATO allies supporting Kyiv, he also stated that “the nations that claim they have no red lines regarding Russia should recognize that Russia won’t have any red lines regarding them either.”

Lithuania’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, recently expressed regret that the West often limits itself with self-imposed “red lines” concerning Russia. He likewise welcomed a statement by French President Emmanuel Macron that the possibility of Western troops being sent to Ukraine cannot be ruled out.

Following recent battlefield advancements, Putin argued that Kyiv and its Western allies will eventually have to accept a deal to end the war on terms set by Russia.

“It shouldn’t be a break for the enemy to rearm but a serious conversation involving the guarantees of security for the Russian Federation,” he said.

Putin mentioned that a recent surge in Ukrainian drone attacks deep inside Russia is part of efforts to disrupt the country’s three-day presidential election, which begins Friday and where he is poised to win by a large margin, given his near complete suppression of dissent and strict control over Russia’s political structure.

Russian authorities reported another significant attack by Ukrainian drones early Wednesday. The Defense Ministry announced that air defenses intercepted 58 drones across six regions. One of the drones struck an oil refinery in the Ryazan region, causing at least two injuries and igniting a fire. Another drone was shot down as it approached a refinery near St. Petersburg.

Meanwhile, Ukraine reported additional Russian attacks early Wednesday.

A Russian airstrike killed two people and injured five others in the town of Myrnohrad in the eastern region of Donetsk, approximately 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) from the front line, according to Gov. Vadym Filashkin. Local rescuers managed to extract a 13-year-old girl from the debris of an apartment building.

A drone from Russia hit a five-floor building in Sumy, a city in the north. 10 people were saved from the debris, 8 of them were injured, according to the regional administration.

In the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the number of people who died from a Russian missile strike increased to four. Governor Serhii Lysak stated that 43 people in Kryvyi Rih were injured, including 12 children, the youngest aged two and eleven months.

Zelenskyy said that Ukraine's cities and villages are under constant attack from Russia and that the country loses people daily because of Russian aggression.

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Keep up with AP’s reporting on the Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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