Putin: Ukraine Military Operation Taking Longer Than Expected
MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on Wednesday during a televised meeting with members of Russia's Human Rights Council and said that the "special military operation" in Ukraine is taking longer than expected and addressed the usage of nuclear weapons.
“Of course, it could be a lengthy process,” he said, adding that seizing land in Ukraine was "a significant result for Russia," and that the Sea of Azov "has become Russia's internal sea," and said that “Peter the Great fought to get access”.
Putin: Russia Won't Use Nukes Unless Attacked
After a member of the Human Rights Council asked Putin to pledge that Russia wouldn't be the first to use nuclear weapons, he said, “If it doesn’t use it first under any circumstances, it means that it won’t be the second to use it either, because the possibility of using it in case of a nuclear strike on our territory will be sharply limited."
He said that his previous comments criticized by the West as nuclear saber-rattling was “not a factor provoking an escalation of conflicts, but a factor of deterrence.”
“We haven’t gone mad. We are fully aware of what nuclear weapons are. We have them, and they are more advanced and state-of-the-art than what any other nuclear power has.”
"But we aren't about to run around the world brandishing this weapon like a razor, but of course, we act with the understanding they exist," he added.
He said that Russia would "under no circumstances" use nuclear weapons unless it was first attacked, and said that it would not threaten another country with it either.
Blinken: We Did Not Encourage Or Enable Ukrainians To Strike Within Russia
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked at the AUSMIN press conference whether Washington had "encouraged or enabled" Ukraine to retaliate against Russia after Moscow accused Ukraine of carrying out attacks on locations within Russian territory.
Blinken said, "We have neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia, but the important thing is to understand what Ukrainians are living through every day with the ongoing Russian aggression against their country."
He added that the United States will continue to support Ukraine by providing it with military equipment in order "to defend their territory, to defend their freedom".
Germany: Risk Of Nuclear Weapons In Ukraine Reduced Due To International Pressure
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday during an interview that the risk of Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine has been reduced due to recent international pressure on Russia against such actions.
When asked whether the threat of a nuclear escalation happening had been averted he said, "For the time being, we have put a stop to it."
During the interview with the German media group Funke, he said "One thing has changed for the time being: Russia has stopped threatening to use nuclear weapons. In response to the international community marking a red line."
When he was asked about comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron suggesting "security guarantees' for Russia, Scholz said that the priority was for Russia "to end the war immediately and withdraw its troops."
"It is true that the question is then how we can achieve security for Europe. Of course, we are ready to talk with Russia about arms control in Europe. We offered this before the war, and this position has not changed," he stated.
Macron's Suggestion For Security Guarantees For Russia Rejected By Ukraine And NATO Allies
Macron's suggestion was to consider Russia's need for security guarantees if the Kremlin agreed to take part in talks that would put the war in Ukraine to an end, but the suggestion received a great deal of disapproval from both the Ukrainian government, as well as NATO allies who alaso did not look kindly on the suggestion.
Mykhailo Podolyak, who is a top aid for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia doesn't need security guarantees, the world needs security guarantees from Russia.
"Civilized world needs 'security guarantees' from barbaric intentions of post-Putin Russia," he said.
Oleksiy Danilov, who is the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council said that a "denuclearized and demilitarized" Russia would be the best guarantee of peace, not just for Ukraine but for the world as well.
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