Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country has capabilities to strike West with nuclear weapons whenever it wants. (Contributor/Getty Images)


Putin warns West of ‘nuclear war’ risk after Macron floats troop deployment idea


President Vladimir Putin warned Western countries there was a “genuine risk” of nuclear war if they sent their own troops to fight in Ukraine. He said Moscow had the weapons to strike targets in the West.

He prefaced his warning with a specific reference to an idea floated by French President Emmanuel Macron on February 26, as reported by Brussels Signal, of European NATO members sending ground troops to Ukraine.

Macron, speaking at a conference in Paris in support of Ukraine attended by more than 20 heads of state, said: “There is no consensus today to send troops on the ground in an official, open and endorsed manner.

“But, in dynamics, nothing should be excluded.”

Putin, addressing the Russian Parliament and other members of the country’s elite on February 29, repeated his accusation that the West was bent on weakening Russia. He also suggested Western leaders did not understand how dangerous their “meddling” could be in what he cast as Russia’s own internal affairs.

“[Western nations] must realise that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory. All this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilisation.

“Don’t they get that?!” said Putin.

The Russian President, who was speaking ahead of a March 15-17 presidential vote where he is certain to be re-elected for another six-year term, lauded what he said was Russia’s vastly modernised nuclear arsenal, the largest in the world.

The war in Ukraine has triggered the worst crisis in Moscow’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and Putin had previously warned of the dangers of a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.

Visibly angry, Putin, Russia’s leader for more than two decades, suggested Western politicians recall the fate of those such as Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler and France’s Napoleon Bonaparte who unsuccessfully invaded his country in the past.

“But now the consequences will be far more tragic,” said Putin.

“They think [war] is a cartoon,” he said.