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Putin: Sending Western forces to Ukraine, risk of global nuclear conflict

2024-02-29 18:54:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

Putin: Sending Western forces to Ukraine, risk of global nuclear conflict

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed on Thursday to meet Moscow's targets in Ukraine and warned the West against further involvement in the fighting, saying such a move risks global nuclear conflict. His warning came in a speech to the nation ahead of an election he is expected to win next month, underscoring his willingness to defend territories taken from Russia in Ukraine.

Apparently referring to the statement made earlier this week by French President Emmanuel Macron that the possibility of deploying Western ground forces in Ukraine should not be ruled out, the Russian president warned of tragic consequences for countries that decide to take this step.

"They shamelessly say that Russia intends to attack Europe. But we simply understand that they say nonsense, while they themselves choose targets to hit inside our territory, as they say, with the most efficient means of destruction. They started talking about the possibility of sending NATO military contingents to Ukraine. But, we remember the fate of those who once sent contingents to the territory of our country, but now the consequences for these potential intruders will be much more tragic" , said Mr. Putin.

Speaking before an audience of lawmakers and top officials, Mr Putin warned the West against deeper involvement in the conflict.

"We also have weapons. They know that. As I just said, there are also weapons that can hit targets in their territory... These are people who have not gone through difficult trials. They have already forgotten what war is... They think these are some kind of cartoons ," said the Russian president.

Mr Putin has also in the past referred to Russia's nuclear power since sending Russian forces to Ukraine in February 2022, with the aim of discouraging the West from expanding military support for Kiev.

The Russian president emphasized that the nuclear units of the Russian army are on full alert and that the army has introduced powerful new weapons, some of them tested on the battlefields in Ukraine.

But at the same time, he rejected claims by Western leaders about the risk of Russian attack on NATO countries and accusations from Washington that Moscow is preparing to send nuclear weapons into space.

"We have recently heard more and more baseless accusations against Russia, for example we are putting nuclear weapons into space. These falsehoods are nothing more than falsehoods. They are a trap to draw us into negotiations according to their terms, from which only the United States benefits" , said Mr. Putin.

The Russian president has repeatedly signaled that he is willing to negotiate an end to the fighting, but has warned that Russia will keep the territories it has taken.

At 71, Mr Putin will stand as an independent candidate in the March 15-17 presidential election and rests on the complete control over the Russian political system he has built up during his 24 years in power.

Critics who have challenged him have been jailed, or live abroad, while most independent media outlets have been banned.

Russia's best-known opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was barred from running against Mr Putin in 2018, died suddenly this month in an Arctic prison while serving a 19-year sentence for extremism. Mr. Navalny's funeral is planned to be held on Friday./ VOA

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