Monday, June 17, 2024

Russia could send weapons to Western adversaries: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened for a second time to send arms to Western adversaries, in response to the Western military support for Ukraine, while declining to name any countries or groups.

Putin made the threat, his second this week, during a speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum when discussing Western support for Ukraine amid its war with Moscow.

“If they supply [weapons] to the combat zone and call for using these weapons against our territory, why don’t we have the right to do the same?” he told attendees.

Putin would not say when he would carry out such an act — stressing that Russia is not currently supplying weapons to enemies of the West — nor did he reveal what countries or entities he was considering for sending arms.

The Russian leader on Wednesday told international journalists that Moscow could provide long-range weapons to nations to strike Western targets, a threat that comes after the US gave Ukraine permission to strike with American-made weapons in a limited area of Russia.

“We reserve the right to act the same way,” Putin said on the sidelines of the forum earlier this week.

“The response might [be] asymmetrical, and we will think about that.”

Putin on Friday also reaffirmed that he is prepared to use nuclear weapons if he sees a threat to Russian sovereignty, even as he stated the current threat level did not warrant the use of such weapons as stipulated in Moscow’s nuclear doctrine. However, he noted that could change.

“We have a nuclear doctrine which states that the use of nuclear arms is possible in an exceptional case, when the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country is threatened,” he said, adding, “But the doctrine can be changed.”

Russia has picked up its saber rattling amid fresh US aid packages to Ukraine as well as the limited new permission to strike at Kremlin targets within Russia.

As part of that, Russia has sent three navy ships and a nuclear-powered submarine to Cuba, to arrive at the Port of Havana for an official visit next week, according to the Cuban armed forces.

US officials expect the two countries to engage in exercises to include “heightened naval and air activity near the United States”, involving both Russian aircraft and combat naval vessels — the first coordinated air and sea exercise by Russia in the Western Hemisphere in five years, a US official told McClatchy and the Miami Herald on Wednesday.

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