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Putin Warns That NATO Troops in Ukraine Could Lead to Nuclear War

President Putin addresses the Federal Assembly. Credit:

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual Address to the Federal Assembly today lasted only two hours, shorter perhaps than previous such speeches, but pungent with significance for the future of the nation. In its breadth, it is only comparable to some of the things that have been proposed over the last few decades by China. Sometimes, war and the threat of war can focus the mind like a laser on what is essential.

The most dramatic element was Putin’s warning that the West’s attacking targets in the Russian Federation, and the threat of sending NATO troops to beef up the dwindling Ukrainian forces on the ground, could lead to nuclear conflagration. “But we remember the fate of those who once sent their contingents to the territory of our country. But now the consequences for possible interventionists will be much more tragic. They must ultimately understand that we also have weapons—yes, they know about this, I just said—that can hit targets on their territory. And they should understand that what they are doing now to scare the whole world, it risks a conflict with nuclear weapons which means the destruction of civilization. Do they understand this or what?”

Putin began his comments to the Assembly by noting discussions he had had in recent days with a variety of the citizenry, with soldiers, educators, local officials, and youth, indicating their full support for defending the sovereignty of the nation. He outlined the successes Russia has had on the battlefield, specifying the measures the country was taking in beefing up its military capability, including its nuclear capability, as well as the new weapons systems that are being used on the battlefield. He exposed the goal of the West in conducting its war against Russia in Ukraine. “The so-called West, with its colonial habits, its habit of inciting national conflicts around the world, seeks not only to restrain our development—instead of Russia, they need a dependent, fading, dying space where they can do whatever they want. In essence, they would like to do to Russia the same thing that they did in many other regions of the world, including Ukraine: to bring discord into our home, to weaken it from within,” said the President.

Russia was totally willing to discuss the issue of resolving the situation in Ukraine peacefully, but it was not prepared to discuss peace while the West continued to conduct war, he declared. He referred to the West’s bogus claims that Russia was preparing to deploy nuclear weapons in space. He reiterated the fact that Russia had been calling for signing a treaty banning weapons in space, but that the United States was not willing to negotiate such a treaty. He said that the U.S. was trying to force Russia into an arms race, similar to what they had done in the 1980s, which brought down the Soviet Union: “Let me remind you: in 1981-1988, military expenditures of the U.S.S.R. amounted to 13% of the gross national product.”

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