Putin Warns Western Troop Deployment Risks Global Nuclear Conflict
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Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his state-of-the-nation address in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies

MOSCOW  — In a state-of-the-nation address on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stern warning to the West against further involvement in the Ukraine conflict, cautioning that such actions could lead to a global nuclear conflict.

Putin, who is set to win next month’s election, vowed to fulfill Moscow’s goals in Ukraine and emphasized Russia’s readiness to protect its gains in the region. The warning was prompted by recent remarks from French President Emmanuel Macron suggesting the possibility of deploying Western ground troops to Ukraine.

The Russian leader, referencing accusations against Russia, stated that Western allies were actively considering striking Russian territory and discussed sending a NATO contingent to Ukraine. Putin cautioned against such moves, asserting that the consequences for potential invaders would be “far more tragic.”

Speaking before lawmakers and top officials, Putin questioned the understanding of Western leaders, alleging that they are playing with the idea of deeper involvement in the conflict as if in a simulation. He emphasized that Russia possesses weapons capable of striking targets on their territory, raising the real threat of a nuclear conflict that could destroy civilization.

Putin’s strong statement followed previous warnings in which he reminded the world of Russia’s nuclear capabilities, aiming to discourage Western military support for Ukraine. He reiterated that Russia’s nuclear forces are in “full readiness,” deploying new weapons tested on the Ukrainian battlefield, including the Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missile, the Burevestnik atomic-powered cruise missile, and the Poseidon atomic-powered, nuclear-armed drone.

Putin dismissed Western leaders’ concerns about a Russian attack on NATO allies as “ravings” and rejected allegations of Russia considering the deployment of space-based nuclear weapons. He claimed that these accusations were part of a ploy to draw Russia into nuclear arms control talks on American terms.

In a speech focusing on economic and social issues ahead of the upcoming presidential election, Putin argued that Russia was defending its sovereignty and security in Ukraine. He hailed Russian soldiers, honoring those killed in the fighting, and signaled a desire to negotiate an end to the conflict while maintaining Russia’s gains.

Putin, running as an independent candidate in the election, faces limited opposition due to tight control over Russia’s political system. Prominent critics have been imprisoned or live abroad, and most independent media outlets have been banned. The sudden death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny earlier this month adds to the absence of any significant challenge to Putin’s reelection.

As the situation intensifies, the international community watches closely, concerned about the potential escalation of the conflict and the risks associated with a global nuclear confrontation.

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