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Putin warns Westerners of 'real threat' of nuclear war

Vladimir Putin warned Westerners on Thursday of a "real threat" of nuclear war in the event of an escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, in his annual speech to the Nation, an annual high mass during which he defines Russia's priorities.

Comforted by Russian successes in Ukraine, the Russian head of state also welcomed the progress of his troops on the front, two weeks before a presidential election which he should win unsurprisingly.

In a calm tone, under very regular applause from the public, he returned to the controversial remarks of his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who mentioned this week the possibility of Western troops being sent to Ukraine.

“They (Westerners) talked about the possibility of sending Western military contingents to Ukraine (…) But the consequences of these interventions would really be more tragic,” he declared, from Gostiny Dvor, a Congress Palace located near Red Square in Moscow.

“They must understand that we too have weapons capable of hitting targets on their territory. All that “what they are inventing at the moment, in addition to frightening the whole world, is a real threat of conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and therefore of the destruction of civilization”, continued the Russian president.

“So they don't understand that ?”, he wondered aloud.

– Military capabilities ” multiplied” –

The Russian president appears in better shape than a year ago, when his army was subject to humiliating retreats in the south and northeast of Ukraine, after an abortive attempt to seize Kiev in the spring 2022.

Since then, the Ukrainian army has failed in its counter-offensive launched in the summer of 2023 and finds itself on the defensive, lacking ammunition due to lack of agreement in Washington and due to the slowness of European deliveries, faced with more numerous and better armed Russian soldiers.

Mid-February, the latter thus managed to seize the fortress town of Avdiïvka, on the Eastern front, and continue their push in this sector, arousing the satisfaction of Vladimir Putin.

He also delighted with the “flexibility and resistance” of the Russian economy which, despite a barrage of Western sanctions, is resisting for the moment and has turned towards Asia and the war effort.

“The military capabilities of the (Russian) armed forces have been multiplied. They are advancing with confidence in several directions” of the front, Vladimir Putin rejoiced on Thursday, while estimating that “the absolute majority of the Russian people” supported the campaign military in Ukraine.

“We preserved the unity of the country, we did not allow it to be torn into pieces”, launched the head of the Kremlin .

Putin warns Westerners of 'real threat' of nuclear war

He also attacked the current American authorities, accusing them of “wanting to show that they run the world as before” and of engaging in “demagoguery” before the American presidential election in November next.

According to him, Russia is “ready for a dialogue” with the United States on questions of “strategic stability”.

– Funeral of Navalny –

In his speeches to the Nation, Vladimir Putin traditionally takes stock of the past year and sets new strategic directions, in front of his country's political and military elite.

Thursday, he once again praised the “traditional values” officially defended by the Kremlin, assuring that Russia was one of its “bastions”.

“A family with many children must become the norm”, he said, while Russia has been facing serious demographic problems for many years, reinforced by the assault in Ukraine and the departure to foreign hundreds of thousands of citizens.

He also assured that the fight against poverty in Russia was one of his priorities, welcomed a decline in “alcohol consumption” and promised more funding to renovate the country’s schools.

Russian media point out that his speech on Thursday is being broadcast not only on television but also for free in cinemas in 20 cities in Russia, a country whose population is subject, according to Kremlin critics, to increasing political regimentation.

Thursday's speech comes on the eve of the funeral planned in Moscow of its main opponent, the activist anti-corruption Alexeï Navalny, died on February 16 in prison in obscure conditions.

Vladimir Putin, who never uttered the name of Alexeï Navalny in public, does not has still not commented on this death which shocked Western powers.

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