Putin issues a warning to ‘irresponsible’ Western politicians
Russia is not threatening anyone with nuclear weapons but everyone should know what it has and what it could use if the need arose, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a plenary session of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday.
Putin said he was aware that some “irresponsible” Western politicians, despite their seniority, have been “ranting” about Russia allegedly upping the nuclear ante.
“What are we supposed to do? We respond accordingly. As soon as we answered, they cling to us and say: Here is Russia threatening. We do not threaten anything, but everyone should know what we have and what we will use if necessary to protect our sovereignty,” the Russian leader said.
Two weeks ago, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that “nobody should forget” about circumstances that could force Russia to use nuclear weapons, but also stressed that “no one wants nuclear war.”
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, said that while he doesn’t want to scare anyone, “when people say that something is impossible, because it is never possible, they are always wrong.”
Prior to Medvedev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the risk of atomic war was “serious, real, and we must not underestimate it.” His remarks were widely criticized in the West, with both US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Mark Milley accusing Russia of “nuclear saber-rattling.”
Putin himself faced similar allegations from the West after escalating the alert status of Moscow’s nuclear forces soon after launching a military offensive in Ukraine in late February.
Moscow has consistently denied accusations of ‘playing the nuclear card’, saying that such claims are part of an anti-Russia “propaganda campaign” launched by the West.