Putin warns that the risk of nuclear war is increasing

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned that the risk of nuclear war was increasing – as he admitted Russia’s war in Ukraine could become a “long process”.

The Russian leader discussed the threat of nuclear war while addressing Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council, the latest in a string of nuclear flirtation since the tide of Ukraine’s nine-month war began to turn in Kiev’s favor.

“Such a threat is growing, it would be wrong to hide it,” he said.

While Putin indicated that Russia would not be a nuclear aggressor, he did not rule out a first strike.

“We’re not crazy, we know what nuclear weapons are,” he said during the televised appearance before the council. “We have these means in a more advanced and modern form than any other nuclear country… But we are not going to run around the world wielding this weapon like a razor.”

But when urged by a council member to promise not to use nuclear weapons unless another nation uses them first, Putin did not.

Putin sits at a desk in a virtual meeting
Putin said Russia would use its nuclear arsenal responsibly – but refused to rule out a first strike.
SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

“If [a country] does not use [nukes] First, under no circumstances does this mean that it will not be the second to use it either, because the possibility of using it in the event of a nuclear strike on our territory will be severely limited,” Putin said.

He added that his constant reminders of Russia’s nuclear arsenal “are not a factor provoking an escalation of conflicts, but a factor of deterrence”.

The leader has repeatedly said Russia will use “all available means” to defend Russian territory – including occupied territories that the Kremlin has allegedly annexed. But he acknowledged that the war in Ukraine “could be a long process”.

The address was part of Putin’s annual meeting with the human rights organization – who was told in advance not to ask too many exploratory questions about the war, Russian independent newspaper Verstka reported.

However, Putin praised the war and said Russia had achieved a “significant result” in acquiring “new territories” – a reference to the Kremlin’s illegal annexations.

Putin at a desk
Putin compared himself to Peter the Great for declaring Ukraine’s Azov Sea coast to be “Russia”.
AP

He claimed to have made the Sea of ​​Azov – which borders Russia on one side and Ukraine’s Zaporizhia and Donetsk provinces on the other – an “inland sea” of Russia.

“Peter the Great was fighting for access to the Sea of ​​Azov,” Putin added, comparing himself to the 18th-century Imperial Russian Tsar and father of the Russian Navy.

However, Putin did not address Russia’s significant losses on the battlefield.

In recent months, a Ukrainian counter-offensive has driven Russian forces out of Kharkiv province and retreating from the city of Kherson — the region’s only capital Moscow was able to take.

Despite fierce fighting on the outskirts of Bakhmut in Donetsk province, neither Ukraine nor Russia have gained significant territory.

And surprisingly, this week several military airfields in Russia were hit by drone strikes believed to be launched from Kiev – another issue Putin failed to raise.

However, the Russian president expressed outrage at the West’s refusal to recognize civilian victims of Ukrainian shelling in the Russian-held provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk.

With wires

https://nypost.com/2022/12/07/putin-warns-risk-of-nuclear-war-continues-to-grow/ Putin warns that the risk of nuclear war is increasing

JACLYN DIAZ

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