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Putin says Russia doesn’t need nuclear weapons to win in Ukraine

Putin says Russia doesn’t need nuclear weapons to win in Ukraine
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday there was no need to use nuclear weapons to deliver victory for Moscow in Ukraine, the strongest signal yet from the Kremlin chief that there will not be a nuclear strike.

Putin, whose forces have been making advances in eastern Ukraine in recent months, said he did not see the conditions for the use of such weapons and requested that people stop discussing the nuclear topic.

However Putin, who leads the world’s biggest nuclear power, said he did not rule out changes to Russia’s nuclear doctrine, which sets out the conditions under which such weapons could be used.

He also said that if necessary Russia could test a nuclear weapon, though he saw no need to do so at the present time.

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Russia launches missile drills to test its ability to deliver ‘massive’ retaliatory nuclear strike

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Putin’s response came to a question from Sergei Karaganov, an influential Russian analyst, who asked if Putin should hold a “nuclear pistol to the temple” of the West over Ukraine.

“The use is possible in an exceptional case – in the event of a threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. I don’t think that such a case has come. There is no such need,” Putin said at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

“But this doctrine is a living tool and we are carefully watching what is happening in the world around us and do not exclude making some changes to this doctrine. This is also related to the testing of nuclear weapons.”

Russia’s published 2020 nuclear doctrine sets out the conditions under which a Russian president would consider using a nuclear weapon: broadly as a response to an attack using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, or to the use of conventional weapons against Russia “when the very existence of the state is put under threat”.

“If necessary, we will conduct tests. So far, there is no need for this either, since our information and computer capabilities allow us to produce everything in its current form.”

Karaganov last year proposed a limited nuclear strike on a Nato member in Europe to force the West to back off in the conflict over Ukraine and thus avert World War III.

US President Joe Biden last week relaxed some restrictions on Ukraine’s use of US weaponry inside Russia, prompting warnings from Moscow of a potentially dangerous escalation in the conflict.

Putin said on Wednesday he could deploy conventional missiles within striking distance of the United States and its European allies if they allowed Ukraine to strike deeper into Russia with long-range Western weapons. He also said the West was wrong to assume Russia would never use nuclear weapons.

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