Putin warns West of risking a global conflict


In a defiant speech at Moscow’s Red Square before thousands of soldiers, Putin said that Western elites had forgotten Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazism…reports Asian Lite News

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the “arrogant” West of risking a global conflict, warning the nuclear power’s “strategic forces” are combat-ready, as he marked the Soviet victory over Germany in World War II.

In a defiant speech on Thursday at Moscow’s Red Square before thousands of soldiers dressed in ceremonial attire, Putin said that Western elites had forgotten the Soviet Union’s role in defeating Nazism and were now stoking conflict around the world.

“We know what the exorbitance of such ambitions leads to. Russia will do everything to prevent a global clash,” he said. “But at the same time, we will not allow anyone to threaten us. Our strategic forces are always in a state of combat readiness.”

Victory Day has become Russia’s most important public holiday as Putin puts the country firmly on a combat footing. Evoking the second world war, the president has repeatedly framed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 as an existential battle against Nazism.

This year’s address to the nation came as his troops make advances in Ukraine and just after he took the oath for an unprecedented fifth term after winning presidential elections devoid of all opposition. At a lavish inauguration held two days earlier, he promised to deliver “victory” to Russians.

The 71-year-old leader has also upped his nuclear rhetoric. Earlier this week, he ordered the Russian military to hold nuclear weapons drills involving the navy and troops based near Ukraine.

Last year Russia revoked its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and pulled out of a key arms reduction agreement with the United States.

On Thursday, columns of tanks and missiles rolled across Red Square as squadrons of fighter jets roared above.

There was tight security in the capital, and parades were cancelled in several areas, including the western Kursk and Pskov regions, due to security concerns.

The parade in Moscow was scaled back compared with past years amid the mobilisation on the front lines. Putin casts the ongoing war as part of a struggle with the West, which he says humiliated Russia after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 by encroaching on what he considers Moscow’s sphere of influence.

Ukraine and its Western allies have pledged to defeat Russia, which currently controls about 18 percent of Ukraine, including Crimea, and parts of four regions in eastern Ukraine.

Present at the event were the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Laos and Guinea-Bissau.

Russian officials say the Ukraine war is entering the most dangerous phase to date. Putin has repeatedly warned of the risk of a much broader war involving the world’s biggest nuclear powers.

Last week, Putin had directed Russian forces to conduct tactical nuclear weapons exercises in response to what he termed as “threats” from the West.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Putin has hinted at the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons against Western nations. However, Monday marked the first public announcement of such drills by Russia.

According to Russia’s defence ministry, the exercises will encompass preparations and deployment scenarios involving non-strategic nuclear weapons.

Tactical nuclear weapons, unlike their strategic counterparts, are designed for battlefield use and possess lower destructive capabilities, as reported by CNN.

The decision to conduct these drills follows what the defence ministry describes as “provocative statements and threats” from Western officials, which Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov characterised as reaching “unprecedented levels.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a recent interview with The Economist magazine, reiterated the possibility of deploying Western troops to Ukraine, underscoring the threat Russia poses to European security.

Similarly, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, during a visit to Ukraine, emphasised Ukraine’s right to defend itself using weapons supplied by the UK, condemning Russia’s illegal invasion.

The announcement of the drills comes amidst the passage of a long-delayed aid package by the United States for Kyiv, aimed at bolstering Ukraine’s military capabilities against renewed Russian aggression.

Russian forces have made significant territorial gains along Ukraine’s eastern front in recent months, exploiting their manpower and ammunition advantage before the arrival of US aid.

Putin’s invocation of nuclear rhetoric often coincides with challenges to Russia’s military objectives or increased international support for Ukraine.

After Ukraine reclaimed substantial territories in late 2022, Putin acknowledged the protracted nature of the conflict and highlighted the growing threat of nuclear war.

In February of the same year, Putin announced Russia’s suspension of the New START treaty, citing the possibility of US nuclear testing as justification, according to CNN.

While US President Joe Biden and State Department officials have sought to downplay concerns regarding Putin’s nuclear threats, they remain vigilant in monitoring Russian actions.

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