War in Ukraine: Russia could consider a pre-emptive strike to disarm an enemy, says Vladimir Putin
Steph Deschamps / December 11, 2022
He was responding to a question from a reporter during a visit to Bishkek who asked him to clarify his statement earlier this week about the use of nuclear weapons.
Speaking to reporters days after warning that the risk of nuclear war was increasing but that Russia would not strike first, Putin said Moscow was considering adopting what he called Washington's concept of a preemptive strike.
"First of all, the United States has developed the concept of a preemptive strike. Secondly, they are developing a strike system aimed at disarming" (the enemy), President Putin told reporters following his visit to Kyrgyzstan.
He added that Moscow should perhaps think about adopting the "ideas developed by the Americans to ensure their own security". "We are just thinking about it," he said.
The Russian president also claimed that his country's cruise missiles and hypersonic systems were "more modern and even more effective" than those of the United States.
On Wednesday, Mr. Putin assured that Moscow would not be the first to deploy atomic weapons.
Russia would not use them first under any circumstances," he said, before adding: "But if it does not use them first under any circumstances, it will not be the second to use them either, because the chances of using them in the case of a nuclear strike against our territory are very slim.
The U.S. State Department condemned these statements, saying that "any discussion, however vague, of nuclear weapons is absolutely irresponsible."
The specter of a potential nuclear war returned to the international spotlight after the invasion of Ukraine in February, highlighting the erosion of the Cold War-era global security architecture.
Russian military setbacks in recent months have raised fears that Moscow is considering the use of its nuclear arsenal to reverse the trend.