Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed a threat of nuclear war posed by Russia. As soon as one reacts to statements by foreign politicians, it is immediately said that Russia is threatening someone, Putin said on Friday at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. He then added: “We’re not threatening anything. But we want everyone to know what we have and what we may use to protect our sovereignty.”
Because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, which has been going on for almost four months, many are concerned that, in the worst case, nuclear weapons could even be used. Moscow always rejects this intention. Rather, Russia repeatedly emphasizes that, unlike the United States, it has no right of first strike enshrined in its military doctrine.
In addition, Putin claims that his country will play a leading role in shaping the global balance of power. As a powerful and modern country, Russia is part of a new world order, he said in St. Petersburg on Friday. It is obvious that the rules of the new world order will be set by strong and sovereign states.
“We are a strong people and we can face any challenge. Like our ancestors, we will solve any problem, the entire thousand-year history of our country testifies to that,” Putin said. In his 73-minute speech, the head of state reiterated that the “military special operation” in Ukraine would continue. The main goal of the invasion is the defense of “our” people in the predominantly Russian-speaking Donbass in eastern Ukraine. Western states see this as just a pretext to justify the war of aggression that has so far led to the occupation of parts of southern Ukraine far beyond the Donbass.
Putin has also declared the Western sanctions to have failed and considers his country’s economy to be robust. Attempts to weaken them have failed, Putin said. The economic “lightning war” against Russia has no chance of success.
Putin again justified the war against Ukraine, which had been going on for almost four months, which he continued to call only a “special operation”, as there was no alternative. The decision was “forced and necessary,” Putin said. The West previously “literally pumped up Ukraine with its guns and its military advisers.”
According to Putin, Russia is also not hindering grain deliveries from Ukraine. However, according to the Russian President, Ukrainian grain deliveries are insignificant for the world market. It’s about five to six million tons of wheat and about the same amount of corn. That is irrelevant for the world market, said Putin. Western sanctions against Russia would have a much greater impact on rising food prices. The export of fertilizers in particular endangers future harvests and thus continues to drive up prices, he warned.
In addition, Putin accused the US and Europe of increasing food imports and thus fueling competition for the coveted food on world markets. This began long before the Ukraine war, which Putin called “a special military operation in Donbass.” Food inflation is therefore unrelated to the Russian attack, the 69-year-old said.
At the same time, Putin used the stage to verbally attack the West. The US acted as if it had been sent to earth by God with sacred interests. “Our Western colleagues still think in terms of the past century, they treat other countries like colonies,” Putin said, stressing that nothing in international politics will ever be the same.
Putin’s speech at the forum known as the “Russian Davos” started late after a hacker attack. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a phone call with reporters that the cyber attack began on Thursday and paralyzed the forum’s accreditation and entry system. This has led to a number of access problems.
Meanwhile, the pro-Russian separatist leader in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, spoke out in favor of a conquest of the entire Ukraine by the Russian army. Pushilin told the Russian news agency Tass that all of Ukraine, including the “Russian city of Kyiv and western Ukraine,” should be liberated. So this “heavy responsibility would not be passed on to the next generation,” Puschilin added.