Putin denies intent to use nuclear weapons

In a speech that went on for almost four hours at the Moscow-based Valdai Discussion Club on Thursday, Vladimir Putin, like Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu before him, accused Ukraine of planning to build a 'dirty bomb'. Russia itself would only use nuclear weapons to defend itself, the Kremlin leader affirmed, declaring his willingness to negotiate. Europe's press laments the verbal escalation.

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Echo (RU) /

Empty talk about an artificial state

In a Telegram post republished by Echo, political scientist Abbas Gallyamov criticises the view of history expressed in Putin's Valdai Discussion Club speech:

“Putin declared that Ukraine 'historically emerged as an artificial state'. Empty words. 'Artificial' is something created by humans, right? This is precisely where the difference between 'artificial' and 'natural' lies. But Russia was also created by humans, wasn't it? So from this perspective Russia is no less artificial than Ukraine. In the history of Ukraine there were people who shaped the national culture, the national consciousness and the national political discourse - and it was the same in Russia. ... Which just goes to show what an astonishingly ridiculous speech this was.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Why is no one talking about a ceasefire?

La Stampa calls on the conflict parties to negotiate:

“No one has the courage to say the only possible words. ... Let us come together, let us convene a meeting between the minor and major protagonists of this tragedy, between the victims who are rightly demanding compensation and, inevitably, the aggressor who is seeking a way out. A place must be found, a round or square table, along a significant line or on the banks of a river, which can become a neutral space. As was done in Korea, where a cruel war also raged in which there were attackers and the attacked. Back then, too, the use of nuclear weapons was just one step away. But the ceasefire, in which there are neither winners nor losers, has lasted to this day.”

Polityka (PL) /

This isn't the first time he's made threats

Putin's threats are wearing thin, Polityka believes:

“Since apart from the operations against the invading forces in Ukraine, no one intends to attack Russia with nuclear or even conventional weapons, the nuclear defence exercises were more a signal of Russia's readiness to attack directed at its strategic enemy - the United States. Putin sent a similar signal in February, shortly before the invasion began. If that was meant as a warning not to help Ukraine, which he intended to attack, it didn't work. Will it have any impact now?”