Chris Lange, FISM News
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday denied having any intentions of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Speaking at a conference of international foreign policy experts, Putin said it’s pointless for Russia to strike Ukraine with nuclear weapons.
“We see no need for that,” Putin said, the Associated Press reported. “There is no point in that, neither political, nor military.”
Putin also claimed that the conflict in Ukraine was brought about by Western efforts to assert global domination, an endeavor he said is doomed to fail.
The Kremlin leader said that the U.S. and its allies are playing a “dangerous, bloody, and dirty” game of domination in trying to enforce their terms on other nations.
“Humankind now faces a choice,” Putin continued. “Accumulate a load of problems that will inevitably crush us all or try to find solutions that may not be ideal but could work and could make the world more stable and secure.”
“The historical period of the West’s undivided dominance over world affairs is coming to an end,” he added ominously.
He also said that his past threats to use nuclear weapons did not amount to saber rattling, as many claimed, but were a direct response to similar threats from the West.
Putin specifically referenced a remark made by Liz Truss in August in which she said the U.K. would be ready to use nuclear weapons if she became the next prime minister.
“What were we supposed to think?” Putin asked. “We saw that as a coordinated position, an attempt to blackmail us.”
Kremlin officials have repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons, including Putin’s assertion that Moscow will use “any means necessary” to protect its territorial integrity.
President Joe Biden expressed skepticism over the Russian president’s sudden about-face regarding nukes.
“If he has no intention, why does he keep talking about it? Why is he talking about the ability to use a tactical nuclear weapon?” Biden said in an interview with NewsNation.
“He’s been very dangerous in how he’s approached this,” Biden said.
Putin in his speech also doubled down on Moscow’s claims that Ukraine is planning to use a “dirty bomb,” a claim Kyiv and the West strongly dispute and have suggested is a false flag campaign by the Kremlin to deploy its own radioactive explosive and blame Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that the Defense Department has not seen any evidence that either side is planning to use a dirty bomb.
During a press briefing at the Pentagon, Austin warned that, should Russia attempt to use any type of nuclear weapon, “you would see a very significant response from the international community … and we’re going to continue to communicate that any type of use of a weapon of that sort, or even the talk of the use of a weapon of that sort, is dangerous and irresponsible,” Austin emphasized.
Meanwhile, the United States is preparing a $275 million package of military assistance for Ukraine to bolster its counter-offensive against Russian forces, a source familiar with the plan said.
Ukraine, Russia gird for consequential battle in south
During his lengthy diatribe against the West Thursday, Putin insisted that the conflict in Ukraine is moving according to plan as both sides continue preparations for what could be the most consequential battle to date in the eight-month war to see who will control the strategic region of Kherson in Ukraine’s south. One of four Russian-annexed and partially occupied territories, Kherson controls the only land route to the Crimea peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, and the mouth of the Dnipro River that bisects Ukraine.
Sergey Aksyonov, the Russian-appointed leader of Crimea, said work had been completed on moving residents seeking to flee Kherson to regions of Russia ahead of an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive, Reuters reported.
Kyiv officials, meanwhile, have accused Moscow of forcibly removing some residents and recruiting others to fight against their will. Ukraine’s general staff said what it called Russia’s so-called evacuation was continuing and that Kremlin forces had been deployed to empty homes.
Ukraine shoots down hundreds of drones targeting infrastructure
Ukraine shot down more than 300 Iranian Shahed-136 ‘kamikaze’ drones so far, air force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat announced a briefing on Friday.
The drones have become a key weapon in Russia’s arsenal and have been used to great effect to destroy Ukrainian infrastructure and terrorize civilians in stepped-up attacks in recent weeks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said last week that drone and missile strikes destroyed about 30% of Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure.
Iran has denied Ukrainian and Western accusations that it is supplying drones to Russia.