Russian President Vladimir Putin seen in a 2018 interview.
World Order 2018
- Putin said in a 2018 interview that Russia would use nuclear weapons if attacked.
- “If someone decides to destroy Russia … we have a legal right to respond,” he said.
- Russia has been making threats of a nuclear war but Ukraine and Western countries say it’s bluffing.
President Vladimir Putin once said he would feel legitimate in using nuclear weapons if Russia was attacked, saying: “Why do we need such a world if there is no Russia there?”
Putin made the remarks in a feature-length interview with the pro-Kremlin journalist Vladimir Solovyov, which was aired on the state-run Russia-1 network in March 2018.
When asked in what scenario Russia would use nuclear weapons, Putin appeared to feign offense at the question, and said: “If someone decides to destroy Russia, then we have a legal right to respond. Yes, for humanity it will be a global catastrophe, for the world it will be a global catastrophe.”
Putin added: “But still, as a citizen of Russia and the head of the Russian state, then I want to ask myself the question: ‘Why do we need such a world if there is no Russia there?'”
In the interview, Putin also said that Russia would only launch a nuclear weapon if it detected the launch of other missiles headed for Russia.
“The decision to use nuclear weapons can only be made if our missile attack warning system not only recorded the launch of missiles, but also gave an accurate forecast and flight trajectories,” he said.
It is unclear if Putin meant that Russia would respond only in the case of nuclear warheads or non-nuclear missiles in general. There is no public indication that Western powers are planning any missile attack on Russia.
The 2018 Putin quote was revived by the Financial Times in an article published on Tuesday.
Russia has been ‘nuclear saber-rattling’ since it invaded Ukraine
Russia has been dangling the threat of nuclear war throughout its war with Ukraine.
Days after multiple countries sanctioned Russia over the invasion, Putin said he placed Russia’s nuclear program on special alert in an apparent effort to deter further punishment.
However, Western officials said at the time it did not appear to bring any material changes to Russia’s nuclear readiness, saying it was likely just an attempt to distract from the invasion.
Similarly, in the wake of the threats, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Russia to stop “nuclear saber-rattling.”
Some US lawmakers have suggested that if Russia uses a nuclear weapon in Ukraine, and the radiation from the attack is detected across the border in a NATO state, it should be considered an attack on the alliance.
Article 5 of the NATO treaty states the principle of collective defense, meaning an attack on one country is an attack on all of them.
NATO forces have to date declined to send troops into Ukraine, chosing to provide military aid from a distance instead.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said NATO was “in essence” engaged in a proxy war with Russia via Ukraine,” and warned of the “real” risks of unleashing a new world war.
His counterpart in Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, dismissed Lavrov’s words as a bluff.
Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.
Read the original article on Business Insider