Gulf Today

Russia may use N-arms ‘if sovereignt­y is threatened’

Moscow won’t have any red lines regarding enemies, says Putin; EU agrees $5.5b package to fund arms for Ukraine


President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons if its sovereignt­y or independen­ce is threatened, issuing another blunt warning to the West just days before an election in which he’s all but certain to secure another six-year term.

The Russian leader has repeatedly talked about his readiness to use nuclear weapons since launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb.24, 2022.

The most recent such threat came in his state-of-the-nation address last month, when he warned the West that deepening its involvemen­t in the fighting in Ukraine would risk a nuclear war.

Asked in an interview with Russian state television released early Wednesday if he has ever considered using batlefield nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Putin responded that there has been no need for that. He also noted that he doesn’t think that the world is heading for a nuclear war, describing US President Joe Biden as a veteran politician who fully understand­s the possible dangers of escalation.

Still, the remarks appeared to be a message to the West that he’s prepared to use all means to protect his gains in Ukraine.

Putin said that in line with the country’s security doctrine, Moscow is ready to use nuclear weapons in case of a threat to “the existence of the Russian state, our sovereignt­y and independen­ce.”

“All that is writen in our strategy, we haven’t changed it,” he said.

In an apparent reference to Nato allies that support Kyiv, he also declared that “the nations that say they have no red lines regarding Russia should realise that Russia won’t have any red lines regarding them either.”

Lithuania’s foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergi­s, recently lamented that the West too oten constrains itself with self-imposed “red lines” regarding Russia. He also welcomed a comment by French President Emmanuel Macron that the possibilit­y of Western troops being sent to Ukraine couldn’t be ruled out.

Putin noted the statements from Biden and his administra­tion that the US wasn’t going to send its troops to Ukraine.

He charged that if the US acts otherwise, Moscow would see the American troops as invaders and act accordingl­y. He claimed that even if some Nato allies deploy troops to Ukraine, it won’t change the course of the war.

“If it turns to official foreign military contingent­s, I’m sure it will not change the situation on the batlefield just as the weapons supplies haven’t changed anything,” he said.

In the wake of recent batlefield gains, Putin argued that Ukraine and its Western allies will eventually have to accept a deal to end the war on Russian terms.

“It shouldn’t be a break for the enemy to rearm, but a serious talk involving the guarantees of security for the Russian Federation,” he said.

Meanwhile, EU member states on Wednesday agreed to add five billion euros ($5.5 billion) to a central fund to pay for weapons sent to Ukraine. Belgium, which holds the EU’S rotating presidency, said ambassador­s from the bloc’s 27 nations had agreed “in principle” on the plan to support arms supplies to Kyiv in 2024 with five billion euros.

In the wake of Moscow’s 2022 invasion, the European Union for the first time agreed to fund weapons deliveries to a country at war.

Since then it has commited 6.1 billion euros from its central European Peace Facility mainly to reimburse part of the cost of arms sent by member states to Ukraine.

The push to bolster the EU fund by an extra five billion euros was delayed for months amid wrangling from Germany and France.

Berlin insisted its bilateral support for Ukraine should be offset against its contributi­on and Paris demanded only weapons produced in Europe should be reimbursed.

Diplomats said Germany -- the largest contributo­r to the fund -- had struck a compromise with Brussels to offset a percentage of its own bilateral support against the fund.

They said France was also satisfied by a commitment that countries would prioritise purchases from European defence firms, but could look outside the EU if certain ammunition or systems were not readily available.

 ?? Agence France-presse ?? ↑
A man votes at a mobile polling station during early voting in Russia’s presidenti­al election in Mariupol, Russiancon­trolled Ukraine, on Wednesday.
Agence France-presse ↑ A man votes at a mobile polling station during early voting in Russia’s presidenti­al election in Mariupol, Russiancon­trolled Ukraine, on Wednesday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bahrain