Vladimir Putin, the leader of Russia, predicted a protracted conflict with Ukraine and warned of a possible nuclear exchange between the two countries.
Putin made an appearance at a Kremlin-based Human Rights Council meeting. He declared during the conference that Moscow would keep using all of its available means to combat the Ukrainian military.
But he declared he wouldn’t send in more troops. The declaration followed numerous expert predictions that Putin would continue the war despite minor but significant setbacks in some Ukrainian regions.
“With regard to the protracted nature of the special military operation and its results, of course, it’s going to take a while, perhaps,” Putin said.
“As for the idea that Russia wouldn’t use such weapons first under any circumstances. Then it means we wouldn’t be able to be the second to use them either. Because the possibility to do so in case of an attack on our territory would be very limited,” he added.
“Nevertheless, we have a strategy. Namely, as a defense, we consider weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons – it is all based around the so-called retaliatory strike. That is, when we are struck, we strike in response.”
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Putin will refrain from deploying forces
Putin said he would refuse to send in more soldiers as of right now. He emphasized that the US was responsible for bringing its nuclear weapons onto European land.
He implied that the US decision was unjust and contrasted it to Russia not relocating its nuclear weapons to another country. Putin, though, asserted that he would not yield in a nuclear conflict.
“We have not gone crazy. We are aware of what nuclear weapons are. And we have these means. They are in a more advanced and modern form than those of any other nuclear country. This is obvious. But we are not going to brandish these weapons like a razor, running around the world,” he said.
Over 300,000 troops make up the Russian military forces, many of whom were summoned during the partial mobilization months ago. According to Putin, 77,000 are presently enlisted in military formations. The defense unit and those undergoing training make up the remainder.
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Russia will fight
Putin denied any assertions that Russia would terminate the conflict quickly. Instead, he predicted that the battle would drag on for some time.
According to experts, Putin might be afraid of losing the war. Putin, however, remains unwilling to acknowledge the things he lost, crucial to his ability to win the war.
“Since September, I see a lot of changes [in Russia] and a lot of fears,” said Tatiana Stanovara, a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace scholar.
“People begin to consider the worst-case scenario for the first time since the war started. That Russia can lose. And they don’t see and don’t understand how Russia can get out of this conflict without being destroyed. People grow very anxious,” she added.
“The fact that Russia is still waging this war, despite its apparent defeats in March [when its forces withdrew from Kyiv], indicates that Putin is desperate not to lose,” said Ilya Matveev, a political scientist in St. Petersburg.
Photo Credit: Ramil Sitdikov