Nuclear weapons threat increased but ‘we haven’t gone mad’: Putin

LONDON/Kyiv: Russian President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged his army may be fighting in Ukraine for a long time, but said for now there will be no second call for soldiers.
Putin has rarely spoken about how long a war he started more than nine months ago will last, but told loyalists in a televised meeting on Wednesday it could still go on for some time.
“It can be a long process,” he said.
Russia has been forced into a series of deep retreats in the face of Ukrainian counter-offensives, waged with growing stockpiles of Western weapons in the east and south since July.
Russia launched what it calls its “special military operation” in February, saying Ukraine’s deepening ties with the West pose a security threat. Ukraine and its allies say the invasion amounts to an imperialist land grab.
Putin, in his remarks, said the risk of nuclear war was growing but that Russia would not recklessly threaten to use such weapons.
“We haven’t gone mad, we realize what nuclear weapons are,” Cheese fries said. “We have these means in a more advanced and modern form than any other nuclear country… But we are not going to walk around the world brandishing this weapon like a razor.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview published Thursday that the risk of Putin using nuclear weapons had diminished in response to international pressure.
‘No Sens’
About 150,000 of the 300,000 reservists called up in September and October had been deployed to Ukraine, 77,000 in combat units, Putin said. The remaining 150,000 were still in training centers.
“In these conditions, talking about additional mobilization measures simply does not make sense,” Putin said.
Russia’s economy has weathered the short-term slump caused by the partial mobilization order, but the disinflationary impact it had on reducing consumer demand has all but disappeared, the central bank said on Wednesday.
Despite recent battlefield retreats, including the loss of Kherson, Ukraine’s only provincial capital captured by Russia, Putin said he has no regrets about launching a war that has become the most devastating in history. Europe since World War II.
He said Russia had achieved a ‘significant result’ with the acquisition of ‘new territories’ – a reference to the annexation of four partially occupied regions in September which Ukraine and most UN members have condemned as illegal.
On Wednesday, Russian shelling left 10 dead and scores injured in the eastern Ukrainian town of Kurakhove, the president said Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address.
“They were peaceful people, ordinary people,” said Zelenskyy, who was named Time magazine’s 2022 “Person of the Year” on Wednesday for his leadership.
Fighting was fierce around the nearby town of Bakhmut.
“The enemy has become very active recently, they are on the offensive, their air force is more active, there are continuous air intelligence missions,” said a Ukrainian unit commander using the nom de guerre Bandera.
“All day yesterday our positions were shelled, their unmanned aerial vehicles were in the air all day.”
Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said Russia had resumed using Iranian-made drones, with Ukrainian forces shooting down 14 in 24 hours as they attacked settlements in western and central Ukraine.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the United Nations is reviewing “available information” on accusations that Iran supplied drones to Russia as it faces Western pressure to send experts in Ukraine to inspect downed drones.
Iran denies supplying the drones to Russia, which has denied that its forces are using Iranian drones to attack Ukraine.
Russian forces fired more than 1,000 rockets and missiles at Ukraine’s power grid, which is still functioning despite extensive damage, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the chief executive of grid operator Ukrenergo.
Eight recent waves of Russian airstrikes on critical infrastructure have severely damaged the network and led to emergency and planned outages across the country, including in the capital Kyiv, a city of three million people.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko has warned of a “doomsday” scenario without electricity, running water or heating this winter if Russian airstrikes on infrastructure continue. He said there was no need for residents to evacuate now, although they should be prepared to do so.
Kyiv could be left without central heating at a time when temperatures can drop to -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit), Klitschko said in an interview.


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