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West poses no threat to Russia – UK defense chief  

Grant Shapps has urged Vladimir Putin to “stop saber-rattling” after he said Moscow was ready to use its deterrent if attacked 

UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has accused President Vladimir Putin of escalatory rhetoric, following an interview the Russian leader gave in which he discussed the use of nuclear weapons. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said the West deliberately misrepresented the Russian leader’s remarks.

“There is no threat to the Russian state; the threat is, I’m afraid, to Ukraine and countries like Poland,” the Shapps said in an interview with GB News on Thursday. His comments come one day after he accused Putin of “saber-rattling” and “irresponsible talk,” during a visit to British troops engaged in NATO drills in Poland.

Earlier this week, the Russian leader took part in an extensive interview with journalist Dmitry Kiselyov, in which he warned that the US deploying a significant military force to Ukraine would be a “red line” for the Kremlin. While Putin deemed such a scenario implausible, he said Moscow is ready if the US tries to “play chicken.”  

The president stressed that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons and considers its arsenal “more advanced than anyone else’s.”  

Answering a question about tactical nuclear arms, Putin noted that weapons of mass destruction have never been deployed by Moscow in Ukraine.  

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“Weapons exist to be used. We have our own principles and they imply that we are ready to use any weapons, including the ones you mentioned, if we are talking about the existence of the Russian state, in case of a threat to our sovereignty and independence,” he clarified.   

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also weighed in Wednesday on the Putin interview, charging that “Russia’s nuclear rhetoric has been reckless and irresponsible throughout [the Ukraine] conflict.”  

Kremlin spokesman Peskov, by contrast, said that Washington has resorted to “intentional distortion of the context.” He described the administration of US President Joe Biden as characterized by an “unwillingness to hear President Putin.” 

“Putin did not voice any threats to use nuclear weapons in this interview,” the Kremlin official insisted, noting that the president was merely citing the country’s nuclear doctrine, which has long been made public.  

He alleged that “everyone in the West deliberately omitted [President Putin’s] words that it never even crossed his mind to deploy, for example, tactical nuclear weapons despite various situations that have shaped up” during the course of the conflict between Kiev and Moscow.


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