Putin Warns West of Risk of Nuclear War, Says Moscow Can Strike Western Targets

Putin Warns West of Risk of Nuclear War, Says Moscow Can Strike Western Targets

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western countries on Feb 29 that there was a genuine risk of nuclear war if they sent their own troops to fight in Ukraine, and he said Moscow had the weapons to strike targets in the West.

Addressing Parliament and other members of the country's elite, Putin said the West is bent on weakening Russia, Reuters reported.

He suggested Western leaders did not understand how dangerous their meddling in Russia's internal affairs could be.

Putin prefaced his warning with a specific reference to an idea, floated by French President Emmanuel Macron on Feb 26, of European NATO members sending ground troops to Ukraine. That suggestion was quickly rejected by the United States, Germany, Britain and others.

"(Western nations) must realize that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. All this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilization. Don't they get that?!" said Putin.

The Russian leader, who was speaking ahead of a March 15-17 presidential election, lauded Russia's vastly modernized nuclear arsenal, the largest in the world.

The war in Ukraine has triggered the worst crisis in Moscow's relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Putin has previously warned of the dangers of a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.

He suggested Western politicians recall the fate of those, like Nazi Germany's Adolf Hitler and France's Napoleon Bonaparte who unsuccessfully invaded his country in the past.

"But now the consequences will be far more tragic," said Putin. "They think it (war) is a cartoon," he said.

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