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Putin warns of nuclear war if West escalates Ukraine conflict

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Europe | February 29, 2024 7:55:07 PM IST
Moscow [Russia], February 29 (ANI) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned of "tragic consequences" for any Western country that dared to send its troops to fight in Ukraine.

"They have announced the possibility of sending Western military contingents to Ukraine ... The consequences for possible interventionists will be much more tragic," Putin said while delivering his annual address to both houses of the Russian Parliament and other members of the country's elite in Gostiny Dvor in Moscow, Al Jazeera reported.

The daily reported that Putin's comments appeared to be a response to French President Emmanuel Macron's refusal earlier this week to rule out sending troops to Ukraine.

The United States, Germany, Britain and others had rejected Macron's suggestion.

"They should eventually realise that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. Everything that the West comes up with creates the real threat of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons, and thus the destruction of civilisation," Putin said, addressing the Federal Assembly, two weeks ahead of presidential elections in the country.

Russian state media TASS reported that Putin, in his 19th State of the Nation speech, emphasised that the actions of the US and its satellites have led to the dismantling of the European security system. According to Putin, "this creates risks for everyone", TASS reported.

Putin added that allegations that Russia plans to deploy nuclear weapons in space were unfounded.

"There has recently been an increasing number of unfounded accusations against Russia, alleging that we plan to deploy nuclear weapons in space. Such bogus stories - and they are nothing but bogus stories - are a ploy to drag us into talks on their terms, which only benefit the US," the president noted as per TASS.

Putin, in his address, said all previous plans to boost Russia's defence industry had been implemented. "The plans we made in the field of armaments, which I mentioned in the 2018 address, either have been implemented or are nearing completion," Putin said, according to the state news agency report.

Putin said Russian forces were making effective use of the Kinzhal hypersonic missile system in the special military operation zone to hit critically important targets while trials of the Burevestnik cruise missile and the Poseidon system were in their final stages.

"Hypersonic warheads of intercontinental range Avangard and laser systems Peresvet are on combat duty," he stated. Avangard is a strategic missile defense complex with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) equipped with a gliding winged warhead. The system was first mentioned by Putin in March 2018.

The Russian leader said the claims that the country was preparing to attack Europe were "nonsense."

"The West provoked the conflict in Ukraine, in the Middle East, in other regions of the world, and continues to lie. Now, they shamelessly say that Russia allegedly intends to attack Europe. You and I understand that they are talking nonsense," Putin said, according to Russian state media.

"At the same time, they themselves are choosing targets for strikes on our territory, choosing the most effective, as they think, means of defeat. They are talking about the possibility of sending NATO military contingents to Ukraine," the Russian leader said, according to TASS.

Politicians in the West sought to weaken Russia from within, just like they did in Ukraine, but they failed, said Putin.

The Russian president noted that his country did not start the war in Ukraine's Donbas region in 2014 but will do everything to end it and 'eradicate Nazism'.

"Our units firmly hold the initiative. They are confidently advancing in a number of operational directions, liberating more and more new territories," Al Jazeera quoted Putin as saying in his annual address.

The majority of Russians support Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine, Putin claimed according to the English language news channel headquartered in the Middle East. (ANI)

 
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