If the Russian state is at stake, Putin says he is ready to use nuclear weapons

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CNN —Moscow is ready to use nuclear weapons if there is a threat to the existence of the Russian state but “there has never been such a need,” President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with state media published Wednesday.
The Russian leader made the comments to Rossiya 1 and RIA Novosti ahead of presidential elections on March 15, in which he is widely expected to sail through to a fifth term in office, and as his full-scale war in Ukraine grinds into a third year.
Putin said that from a military and technical standpoint, Russia is ready for a nuclear war, though he didn’t say one was imminent.
He warned that if US troops were deployed to Ukraine, Russia would treat them as interventionists.
“Apart from (US President Joe) Biden, there are enough other experts in the sphere of Russian-American relations and strategic restraint.
So I don’t think that everything is going to go head-on here, but we are ready for it,” Putin said.
Putin said the United States is also developing nuclear forces but that doesn’t mean they are ready to “launch a nuclear war tomorrow.”“They are now setting tasks to increase this modernity, innovation, they have a corresponding plan.
We know about it too.
They are developing all their components.
So are we,” Putin said.
“Weapons exist in order to use them.
We have our own principles.”Russia sees its large and diverse nuclear weapons stockpile as an important tool for achieving its goals in a potential conflict with the United States or NATO, the US intelligence community believes, and its struggles on the battlefield in Ukraine have continued to raise the risk that he might use them.
“Russia’s inability to achieve quick and decisive battlefield wins, coupled with Ukrainian strikes within Russia, continues to drive concerns that Putin might use nuclear weapons,” the intelligence community wrote in its annual unclassified threat assessment, released on Monday.
In late 2022, the US began “preparing rigorously” for Russia potentially striking Ukraine with a tactical battlefield nuclear weapon, according to reporting in a new book by CNN’s Jim Sciutto, “The Return of Great Powers.”Russia is also expanding and modernizing the systems it has for delivering nuclear weapons, the intelligence community report stated, “because Moscow believes such systems offer options to deter adversaries, control the escalation of potential hostilities, and counter US and Allied conventional forces.”These include long-range nuclear-capable missiles and underwater delivery systems meant to penetrate or bypass US missile defenses, according to the report.
Earlier this month, two senior US administration officials told CNN that in late 2022, the US began “preparing rigorously” for Russia potentially striking Ukraine with a nuclear weapon.
The Biden administration was specifically concerned Russia might use a tactical or battlefield nuclear weapon, the officials said.
Last year, Putin deployed tactical nuclear weapons to neighboring ally Belarus, and former Russian President and deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said strategic nuclear weapons could be used to defend territories incorporated into Russia from Ukraine.
Speaking to Russian state media, Putin said Western countries thought they could “do away” with Russia at the start of the Ukraine invasion, but instead, he claimed Moscow’s financial and economic systems are stable, and the capabilities of its armed forces are only growing.
NATO intelligence estimates of Russian defense production suggest that Russia appears on track to produce nearly three times more artillery munitions than the US and Europe, a key advantage ahead of what is expected to be another Russian offensive in Ukraine later this year.
It’s also running artillery factories “24/7” on rotating 12-hour shifts, a NATO official said.
However, Russia’s ramp-up is still not enough to meet its needs, US and Western officials say, and Western intelligence officials do not expect Russia to make major gains on the battlefield in the short term.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is in desperate need of US aid for arms and armaments, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying “millions” could die without it.
The Biden administration announced another package of military aid to Ukraine worth up to $300 million on Tuesday but Biden said it was “not nearly enough,” and Congress needs to pass additional funding.
In his interview with state media, Putin said Russia would be willing to negotiate on Ukraine, but only if based on reality.
“Are we ready for negotiations?
Yes, we are ready, but only ready for negotiations, not based on some desires after the use of psychotropic drugs, but based on the realities that have developed, as they say in such cases, on the ground,” Putin said.
Asked if there could be a “fair agreement” with the West, he said, “I don’t believe anyone, but we need guarantees.”Zelensky has previously rejected suggestions it was time to negotiate peace with the Kremlin

CNN –.

President Vladimir Putin stated in an interview with state media that was released on Wednesday that while Moscow is prepared to use nuclear weapons if the Russian state is in danger, “there has never been such a need.”.

The Russian president made the remarks to RIA Novosti and Rossiya 1 prior to the March 15 presidential election, in which it is generally anticipated that he will easily win a fifth term in office, and as his full-scale conflict in Ukraine enters its third year.

Putin stated that Russia is prepared for a nuclear war on a military and technological level, but he did not state that one would happen soon.

He issued a warning that Russia would view US troops stationed in Ukraine as interventionists.

“The field of Russian-American relations and strategic restraint has enough experts, aside from (US President Joe) Biden. Therefore, although I don’t think this will all go to court, we are prepared,” Putin remarked.

Putin stated that although the US is building up its nuclear arsenal, it is not prepared to “launch a nuclear war tomorrow.”. “.

Now that they have a corresponding plan, they are assigning tasks to increase modernity and innovation. It is also known to us. They’re working on every one of their parts. Thus are we, said Putin.

“Weapons are there to be used. Our guiding beliefs are unique. “.

The US intelligence community believes that Russia views its massive and varied nuclear weapons stockpile as a crucial tool for accomplishing its objectives in a potential conflict with the US or NATO, and that its ongoing military setbacks in Ukraine have increased the likelihood that he may use them.

The intelligence community stated in its yearly unclassified threat assessment, which was made public on Monday, that “Russia’s inability to achieve quick and decisive battlefield wins, coupled with Ukrainian strikes within Russia, continues to drive concerns that Putin might use nuclear weapons.”.

According to reporting in a new book by CNN’s Jim Sciutto, “The Return of Great Powers,” the US started “preparing rigorously” in late 2022 for Russia probably striking Ukraine with a tactical battlefield nuclear weapon. “.

The intelligence community assessment said that Russia is also modernizing and extending its nuclear delivery systems “because Moscow believes such systems offer options to deter adversaries, control the escalation of potential hostilities, and counter US and Allied conventional forces.”. “.

According to the report, these include underwater delivery systems and long-range nuclear-capable missiles designed to get past or beyond US missile defenses.

Two top US administration officials told CNN earlier this month that the US started “preparing rigorously” for a possible nuclear strike on Ukraine by Russia in late 2022.

The officials stated that the Biden administration was particularly worried that Russia might employ a tactical or battlefield nuclear weapon.

Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president and deputy chairman of the Security Council, stated that strategic nuclear weapons could be used to defend territories annexed by Russia from Ukraine. Putin also sent tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, a neighboring ally, last year.

Speaking to Russian state media, Putin asserted that while Western nations had believed they could “do away” with Russia at the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s financial and economic systems were stable, and its military’s capabilities were only increasing.

Ahead of what is anticipated to be another Russian offensive in Ukraine later this year, NATO intelligence estimates of Russian defense production indicate that Russia appears on track to produce nearly three times more artillery munitions than the US and Europe. Furthermore, a NATO official stated that it operates artillery factories on a rotating 12-hour shift, “24/7.”.

But according to US and Western officials, Russia’s ramp-up is still insufficient to meet its needs, and Western intelligence officials do not anticipate Russia to make significant military gains anytime soon.

As it stands, Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, has stated that “millions” would perish if the US were to withhold its aid for arms and armaments.

Tuesday saw the announcement by the Biden administration of a new $300 million military aid package for Ukraine; however, Biden declared that the funding was “not nearly enough” and that Congress must approve additional funds.

In a state media interview, Putin stated that, should the negotiations be grounded in reality, Russia would be open to talking about Ukraine.

“Are we prepared for negotiations? Absolutely, we are prepared for negotiations, but only prepared in accordance with the realities that have emerged, as they say in these situations, on the ground, and not in accordance with some desires following the use of psychotropic drugs,” stated Putin.

He responded, “I don’t believe anyone, but we need guarantees,” when asked if a “fair agreement” with the West could be reached. “.

Zelensky has consistently declared he would not cede Ukrainian territory and has previously rejected suggestions it was time to negotiate peace with the Kremlin.

“You cannot have a dialogue or a compromise with a liar,” he stated in September to CNN.

In the same interview, which aired on Wednesday, Putin stated that Kyiv’s military setbacks are the reason behind the Ukrainian assaults on Belgorod and Kursk. He went on to say that the attacks coming from Ukraine are intended to sabotage the upcoming Russian election.

This story was enhanced by Katie Bo Lillis of CNN.

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