MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia’s military doctrine only permitted the country to use nuclear weapons in defence, rejecting claims that Russia was considering using them in Ukraine.
Putin also said Russia was ready to restart talks with the United States on nuclear arms control, but had no response from Washington on Moscow’s proposals for talks on “strategic stability.”
In a broadside against Washington and its allies, which he accused of inciting the conflict in Ukraine, Putin said the West was playing what he cast as a “dangerous, bloody and dirty” geopolitical game that was sowing chaos across the world.
Ultimately, Putin said, the West would have to talk to Russia and other major powers about the future of the world.
“The historical period of the West’s undivided dominance over world affairs is coming to an end,” Putin, Russia’s paramount leader, told the Valdai Discussion Club.
“We are standing at a historical frontier: Ahead is probably the most dangerous, unpredictable and, at the same time, important decade since the end of World War Two.”
Russia did not consider the West to be an enemy of Russia despite the current phase of confrontation, he added.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, triggering the biggest confrontation with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis in the depths of the Cold War when the Soviet Union and the United States came closest to nuclear war.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed while the West has imposed the most severe sanctions in history on Russia, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of natural resources.
Asked about a potential nuclear escalation, Putin said the danger of nuclear weapons usage would exist as long as nuclear weapons existed.
Quoting a 1978 Harvard lecture by Russian dissident and novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Putin said the West was openly racist and looked down on other peoples of the world.
“Power over the world is what the so-called West has put on the line in its game – but the game is dangerous, bloody and I would say dirty,” Putin “The sower of the wind, as they say, will reap the storm.”
“I have always believed and believe in common sense so I am convinced that sooner or later the new centres of the multipolar world order and the West will have to start an equal conversation about the future we share – and the earlier the better,” Putin said.
Putin cast the conflict in Ukraine as a battle between the West and Russia for the fate of the second largest Eastern Slav country. It was, he said, partly a “civil war” as Russians and Ukrainians were one people. Kyiv flatly rejects both those ideas.
Putin said he thought constantly of the Russian losses in Ukraine. But only Russia could guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine, he said.
Source : OmanObserver