Russia: Vladimir Putin warns that he is ready to use nuclear weapons if country is threatened

It comes as Vladimir Putin looks certain to win a sixth term in the Russian presidency this week
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Russian president Vladimir Putin has warned that the country won't hesitate to use nuclear weapons if Russia or its independence is threatened.

The leader made the remarks during an interview with Russian state television ahead of the presidential election in the country due to take place later this week. Putin said that he would hope that the US would refrain from taking actions which would prompt the nuclear response, adding that he believed US president Joe Biden to be a veteran politician who was well aware of the risk.

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He said that nuclear capability of Russia was well-equipped, stating that "from the military-technical viewpoint, we're prepared". He added that any threat to "the existence of the Russian state, our sovereignty and independence" would be considered enough to push the button.

Sign up for our Politics newsletter Putin, who made clear Russia's capability at the start of the Ukraine war, said that there had been no need for the use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine as of yet. However, he warned that further involvement in the conflict from the West could risk a nuclear war.

The Russian leader said that he believed the Kremlin will achieve its goals in Ukraine. He added that he was open to peace talks but that Russia would seek assurances that it would not lose any gains made in the war so far, saying: “It shouldn't be a break for the enemy to rearm but a serious talk involving the guarantees of security for the Russian Federation.” 

It come as Putin looks certain to hold onto the presidency for a sixth term in upcoming presidential elections. The election is due to take place from Friday, march 15 until Sunday, March 17.

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