Updated Oct 27, 2022 - World

Putin: "It doesn't make sense" to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin addresses the plenary session of the Valdai Discussion Club forum in the Moscow region on Oct. 27. Photo: Sergei Karpukhin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that he would conduct a nuclear strike in Ukraine, saying Thursday that "it doesn't make sense for us to do it.

Driving the news: Putin has deployed veiled nuclear threats several times in the past few months. His remarks come just a day after Putin oversaw the start of annual drills of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

  • Recent weeks have brought heightened fears about Russia's claims that Ukraine plans to detonate a "dirty bomb" on its own territory, which U.S. and Ukrainian officials have denied.
  • The claims have sparked concerns about a potential "false flag" operation by Russia that could escalate the war in Ukraine.

The big picture: Putin said Russia had "never said anything proactively about the possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia."

  • "We have only hinted in response to statements made by western leaders," he added in remarks at the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow.
  • During his remarks, Putin repeated claims that Ukraine was preparing a "dirty bomb."
  • Ukraine would then claim that its dirty bomb was a Russian nuclear strike, Putin said. "But it doesn't make sense for us to do it, either politically, nor military."
  • Russia's military doctrine dictates that nuclear weapons only be deployed defensively "to protect its sovereignty, territorial integrity and to ensure the safety of the Russian people," he said.

Earlier in his remarks, Putin accused the West of "fueling the war in Ukraine" and railed against Western hegemony and cancel culture.

  • "Dominion of the world is precisely what the so-called West has decided to stake in this game. But this game is a dangerous, dirty and deadly one."

Meanwhile, in an interview Thursday, President Biden questioned, "If he has no intention, why does he keep talking about it?”

  • "Why does he talk about the ability to use a tactical nuclear weapon? He’s been very dangerous in how he’s approached this," Biden said.
  • "[Putin] can end this all, get out of Ukraine."
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