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Business News/ News / World/  ‘Russia-NATO, one step away from a full-scale World War 3,’ Putin warns the West

‘Russia-NATO, one step away from a full-scale World War 3,’ Putin warns the West

Russian President Vladimir Putin warns of a possible conflict with NATO, emphasizing the risk of World War Three. He highlights the dangers of nuclear conflict but denies considering deploying nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Russian President and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin meets with the media at his campaign headquarters in Moscow on March 18, 2024. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / POOL / AFP) (AFP)Premium
Russian President and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin meets with the media at his campaign headquarters in Moscow on March 18, 2024. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / POOL / AFP) (AFP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Monday, suggesting that a direct conflict between Russia and the US-led NATO military alliance would bring the world close to World War Three.

As reported by Reuters, Putin emphasized that few desire such a catastrophic outcome.

The conflict in Ukraine has sparked the most significant crisis in Moscow's relations with the West since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Putin has frequently highlighted the dangers of nuclear conflict but maintains that he has not considered deploying nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Also Read: Vladimir Putin wins Russian presidential elections, says ‘would strengthen military’ in victory speech 

Reuters reported that French President Emmanuel Macron last month said he could not rule out the deployment of ground troops in Ukraine in the future, with many Western countries distancing themselves from that while others, especially in Eastern Europe, expressed support.

Asked by Reuters about Macron's remarks and the risks and possibility of a conflict between Russia and NATO, Putin quipped: “Everything is possible in the modern world."

Also Read: Russia Vs The West: Two and a half decades in power, is Vladimir Putin still winning?

“It is clear to everyone, that this will be one step away from a full-scale World War Three. I think hardly anyone is interested in this," Putin told reporters after winning the biggest-ever landslide in post-Soviet Russian history.

Putin added, though, that NATO military personnel were present already in Ukraine, saying that Russia had picked up both English and French being spoken on the battlefield.

“There is nothing good in this, first of all for them, because they are dying there and in large numbers," he said.

Before the Russian election scheduled for March 15-17, Ukraine escalated its attacks against Russia by shelling border regions and employing proxies in attempts to breach Russia's borders.

When questioned about the possibility of seizing Ukraine's Kharkiv region, Putin responded that if the assaults persisted, Russia would establish a buffer zone using additional Ukrainian territory to safeguard Russian territory.

Also Read: ‘Russophobia is promoted as state policy in European countries,’ says Vladimir Putin

“I do not exclude that, bearing in mind the tragic events taking place today, we will be forced at some point, when we deem it appropriate, to create a certain 'sanitary zone' in the territories today under the Kyiv regime," Putin said.

He refrained from providing additional specifics but indicated that such a zone might need to be sizable enough to prevent foreign-manufactured weapons from reaching Russian territory.

Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, triggering a major European war after eight years of conflict in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian forces on one side and pro-Russian Ukrainians and Russian proxies on the other.

‘France could play a role..’

Reuters reported that Putin said he wished Macron would stop seeking to aggravate the war in Ukraine but to play a role in finding peace: “It seems that France could play a role. All is not lost yet."

"I've been saying it over and over again and I'll say it again. We are for peace talks, but not just because the enemy is running out of bullets," Putin said.

"If they really, seriously, want to build peaceful, good-neighbourly relations between the two states in the long term, and not simply take a break for rearmament for 1.5-2 years."

US Democracy

Putin dismissed US and Western criticism of the election, which the White House said was not free and fair, saying US elections were not democratic and criticising the use of state power against Donald Trump.

"The whole world is laughing at what is happening there," Putin said of the United States. “It is just a catastrophe - it is not democracy - what on earth is it?"

When asked about the fate of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in unexplained circumstances at a Russian prison in the Arctic on Feb. 16, Putin said he had simply "passed away" using Navalny's name for one of the first times in public.

Also Read: US elections 2024: Trump warns of bloodbath, if not elected; Biden admin condemns says, 'he wants another January 6'

Putin said he had agreed several days before Navalny's death to swap him. Reuters reported in February that a prisoner exchange deal had been agreed for Navalny shortly before his death, Reuters reported.

"I said: 'I am agreed'," Putin said about his approval for the prisoner swap. "I had one condition - we exchange him but he never returns."

Navalny's widow, Yulia, has accused Putin of killing her husband. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that claim was simply wrong.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 18 Mar 2024, 07:47 AM IST
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