Putin Warns West Russia 'Ready' For Nuclear War, But Says 'Never Been A Need'

Just ahead of Russia's March 15 presidential elections, Vladimir Putin has reiterated Wednesday that his country stands ready to use nuclear weapons should the state's existence be threatened, but so far "there has never been such a need."

The new warning of Russia's nuclear 'readiness' accompanied with acknowledgement that nuclear war is not imminent appeared further reaction to the West taking up the question of sending troops to Ukraine, after France's Macron raised the issue last month. There have also been fresh attack from Ukraine on Russia's energy infrastructure this week.

"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 in the fresh remarks given to Rossiya-1.

Via Sputnik 

Putin said further of Washington that it too is developing its strategic forces but this doesn't mean it's 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 explained. "Weapons exist in order to use them. We have our own principles."

Importantly, FT noted that "Putin also claimed that he had not considered using a tactical nuclear weapon at Russia’s lowest point in Ukraine in the autumn of 2022 when his forces made humiliating retreats in the eastern regions of Kharkiv and Kherson."

While none of this marks any kind of change in Russia's nuclear doctrine or posture, it demonstrates that President Putin is taking threats from NATO countries to escalate their involvement seriously. Among the more interesting excerpts from the interview is his comparison of US and Russian strategic arsenals and advancement:

President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that Russia's nuclear triad — its three-pronged arsenal of weapons launched from land, sea and air — was "much more" advanced than that of the United States. 

"Our triad, the nuclear triad, it is more modern than any other triad. Only we and the Americans actually have such triads. And we have advanced much more here," Putin said in an interview on state TV.

Ukraine has also been engaged in riskier cross-border attacks of late, possibly at the urging or direction of its Western backers. On Tuesday there was a ground assault by pro-Ukraine paramilitary groups in the Belgorod region which Russia's military said it defeated. It even reportedly involved the paramilitaries using tanks.

On the question of sacrifices made by Russians, most especially fallen troops and their grieving families during the war, Putin commented in the interview as follows: "Look, every human life is priceless, every one. And the loss of a loved one for a family, for any family, is a huge grief... [but] if we abandon these people today, then tomorrow our losses may increase many times over, and our children will have no future."

He continued, "...because we will feel insecure, we will be a third- or fourth-rate country, no one will take us into account, if we can’t protect ourselves. And the consequences could be catastrophic for Russian statehood."

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Below: Putin on the question of peace negotiations with Ukraine...

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