After several threats to use them from Russian officials in recent months, he insisted the weapons were “mechanisms of defense” and were designed for “retaliatory strikes”.
In other words, “If we’re hit, we’ll hit back,” hammered the Russian head of state.
Nevertheless, the “threat of nuclear war is growing”, given the Russian-Western conflict around Ukraine, blaming the situation on the Americans and Europeans.
“Any talk of nuclear weapons is absolutely irresponsible,” Washington commented hours later.
– “A Long Process” –
On this occasion, Vladimir Putin once again justified the offensive he launched more than nine months ago.
However, he admitted, “It’s definitely a long process.”
A “special military operation” launched on February 24 was supposed to result in a lightning Russian victory, but the Ukrainian army forced Russia to abandon Kyiv in the spring, then retreated to several areas in the fall.
Responding to one of his interlocutors on Wednesday, the Russian president nevertheless judged the “emergence of new territories” to be a “significant consequence for Russia.”
“The Sea of Azov has become an inland sea, which is a serious matter,” he declared, referring to the stretch of sea bordering southwestern Russia and part of southeastern Ukraine, of which Moscow now controls the entire shore.
Additionally, Mr. Putin said in September that he had annexed four Ukrainian regions, although only part remains under Russian control and fighting is daily.
This month, Russian troops had to withdraw from Kherson, the capital of the titular southern region that Russia considers its own. A humiliating withdrawal took place in the northeast of Ukraine in September.
The Kremlin has denied that its offensive against Ukraine is aimed at seizing new territory, saying it wants to protect its Russian-speaking population and end the alliance between Kiev and the West, which Russia views as a threat.
– “Every meter counts” –
Vladimir Putin returned to the mobilization of 300,000 reservists, so he noted that only half of them were stationed immediately in Ukraine.
The announcement of the mobilization prompted an exodus of Russians abroad and highlighted the army’s severe equipment problems.
On the frontline, bombings continued on Wednesday, and in the east, six civilians were killed and five wounded in a Russian attack in the city of Kurakov near Donetsk, where most of the fighting is now concentrated.
In the region, “this is a very difficult conflict, every meter counts,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The occupiers are concentrating their main efforts (…) in the directions of Baghmoud (which Russian forces have been trying to capture for months, editor’s note) and Avdiivka (…)”, even in the east, the staff of the Ukrainian army in the evening.
Missiles and drones targeted civilian buildings in Korosten, Shchydomyr (central-west), as well as in Zaporizhia region (south), he continued.
– New European sanctions? –
And if “we have already succeeded in liberating 1888 regions from occupation,” Mr. Zelensky confirmed.
“We have no right to leave a single Ukrainian under Russian occupation! Not in Russian concentration camps where thousands of people have already disappeared. Not on Russian territory where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were forcibly sent,” the Ukrainian leader said. condition.
Ukraine’s fauna has also paid a heavy price in recent months with the death of thousands of dolphins in the Black Sea, which Mr. “Environment” denounced by Zelensky.
According to him, Ukrainians “want to gather evidence of these crimes and hold Russia accountable”.
In this context, European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen proposed on Wednesday to add nearly 200 individuals and companies to the list of EU sanctions against Russia, including its armed forces and three of its banks.
Welcoming this, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba said he had sent a letter to the European Union’s diplomatic chief, Joseph Borel, “to impose strict sanctions on Russia’s production of missiles.”
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