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President Vladimir Putin has continued to address some trends out of the West related to Ukraine… and specifically the way European and US leaders have reacted to the recent escalation in Kharkiv oblast and in the east. Officials in the UK, Germany, and France have of late signaled to their populations that Europe must be ‘war ready’ and on a war footing.

Some have even claimed that Russia is readying to attack NATO countries and that it seeks to expand the conflict beyond Ukraine. For example, on Wednesday German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius claimed that “Putin won’t stop at Ukraine’s borders Russia is a threat to Georgia, Moldova & ultimately to NATO.”

He claimed in an address before German parliament: “Putin’s war economy is working towards another conflict. We must be ready for war by 2029.”

On Friday during a lengthy, wide-ranging discussion panel at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Putin responded to these statements which say he’s looking to attack a NATO country.

“Look, someone has imagined that Russia wants to attack NATO. Have you gone completely insane? Are you as thick as a plank? Who came up with this nonsense, this bulls**t? Putin said, as translated by Russian media.

Image via Atlantic Council

He then explained that Western officials need to keep up the hype and false optimism surrounding their support to Kiev, in order to keep up sentiment among Western populations:

“Why is this being done, really? To maintain their own position of greatness, that’s why. There’s nothing to these scary stories, intended for the townsfolk in Germany and France and elsewhere in Europe,” Putin explained. “In Ukraine, we’re just protecting ourselves.”

“Don’t make up things and then form opinions about Russia on the basis of them,” he added. “You only hurt yourselves this way.”

He also took the opportunity to address headlines suggesting that Russia is ready to use nukes.

He explained that nothing has changed in Russia’s nuclear doctrine, saying that nuclear weapons usage is only possible in “exceptional cases”. He then emphasized that he does not believe “such a case has arisen” and that he is not brandishing nuclear arms.

He further repeated in response to the US having greenlighted Kiev’s usage of Western-supplied missiles against Russian territory, “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?”

Putin added, “But I’m not ready to say that we will be doing it tomorrow, either” – while not naming countries which theoretically could receive Russia’s weapons.

He was also asked by journalists about the end game in Ukraine, and concerning whether truce negotiations could be on the horizon. All negotiations are based on either military defeat, or military victory. Of course, we will win,” he said confidently.

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