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Putin touts his nuclear weapons as “more advanced” than those of the United States

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised the Wednesday the nuclear armament of his country, judging it "more advanced" than that of the United States and ensuring that its arsenal was always "ready" &agrav; a nuclear war.

The West has regularly accused the Russian president of using veiled threats on this subject, particularly regarding the use of these weapons in Ukraine.

“Triads (the vectors for launching atomic weapons, editor's note), only the Americans and we really have them. And there, we are much more advanced. The whole nuclear component is more modern here”, a- he said in a long interview on Russian television, as the start, on Friday, of the presidential election approaches, which in the absence of any opposition should see his re-election triumphant.

Vladimir Putin added that his country was “ready” for a nuclear conflict, but that he had never thought of using such weapons in Ukraine.

“Why should we use means of mass destruction? There has never been such a necessity,” he assured, stressing that Russian military doctrine provided for the use of the ultimate weapon if the Russia's existence was threatened or in the event of “an attack on our sovereignty and independence.”

The Russian president also reacted for the first time to the comments of his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, who said on February 26 “not to exclude” the sending of Western troops to Ukraine.

– It “changes nothing” –

“If these are official military contingents from foreign countries, I am sure that this will not change the situation on the battlefield. It is most importantly, just as sending weapons changes nothing”, replied the master of the Kremlin.

“No one is afraid of you here,” Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda told him through the media, reacting to the violent attack committed the day before in Lithuania against Leonid Volkov, former right-hand man in exile of the Russian opponent Alexei Navalny died in prison in February.

The intelligence services of this Baltic state located on the front line against Russia and which hosts many exiles have “probably” attributed this aggression to Moscow .

Putin touts his nuclear weapons as “more advanced” than those of the United States

Russian President Vladimir Putin during an interview with the director of the Russian information agency RIA Novosti, at the Kremlin, March 12, 2024 in Moscow © POOL – Gavriil GRIGOROV

Vladimir Putin also accused Ukraine of stepping up its attacks against Russian territory to disrupt the presidential vote, scheduled for March 15-17.

“The main objective (…) is at least to try to prevent citizens in any way from expressing their will”, he judged.

Ukraine, for its part, emphasizes that it will continue its attacks in Russia as long as the Russian army occupy its territory and bomb its cities.

Putin touts his nuclear weapons as “more advanced” than those of the United States

Fighting in two Russian regions bordering Ukraine © AFP – Valentin RAKOVSKY, Sabrina BLANCHARD

These attacks, Vladimir Putin further affirmed, can also be explained by the “failures on the front line” of the Ukrainians.

If Russia has been in a position of strength since the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the summer of 2023, it has not managed to defeat Ukraine two years after sending its troops there.

Russian territory is regularly targeted by drones, artillery fire and more rarely ground attacks.

– Call to evacuate –

On Wednesday, Russian volunteers fighting for Ukraine called for the evacuation of residents of two towns near the Ukrainian border in order to to avoid “any civilian loss”.

“We are forced to strike the military positions stationed in the cities of Belgorod and Kursk”, the units declared on Telegram “Russian Freedom Legion”, “Russian Volunteer Corps” and “Siberian Battalion”.

The day before, these fighters had said they had crossed the Russian border in an armed incursion which left at least one dead and which Moscow claimed to have repelled.

Putin touts his nuclear weapons as “more advanced” than those of the United States

But the attackers claimed the capture of the border village of Tiotkino, in the Kursk region. On Wednesday, one of these groups, “Legion of Freedom of Russia”, released a video in which two fighters claim to be fighting in the locality.

AFP does not is not able to confirm or deny this information.

In addition, a new attack by dozens of Ukrainian drones took place during the night and morning of Wednesday .

One of these devices caused a fire at a refinery in Ryazan, about 200 km southeast of Moscow. The strike left “people injured”, the governor of the Ryazan region, Pavel Malkov, wrote on Telegram.

In the Rostov region, bordering Ukraine , three drones shot down by air defense fell on the site of an oil factory in Novochakhtinsk, said Governor Vasily Golubev.

Putin touts his nuclear weapons as “more advanced” than those of the United States

A volunteer from a self-defense unit in front of a building damaged by a drone attack on Belgorod, March 13, 2024 in Russia © AFP – STRINGER

In total, 58 drones targeted several Russian regions during the night and morning, notably those of Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk and Voronezh, bordering Ukraine, according to a press release from the Russian Defense Ministry , ensuring that they were all destroyed.

The state agency Tass also announced on Wednesday that a Ukrainian drone had damaged the building of the Russian security services (FSB) in the town of Belgorod.

A Ukrainian source told AFP that the attacks were operations of the special services, the SBU.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116