Wednesday, November 30, 2022

World Needs To Take Putin’s Nuclear Weapons Threats Seriously – EU Warns

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The world needs to take Russia’s threats of nuclear war over the conflict in Ukraine seriously, the EU’s chief foreign policy chief warned.

Josep Borrell’s remarks come as the Kremlin prepares to mobilise 300,000 additional troops to send to the frontlines as they seek to annex four occupied territories in Ukraine.

He said the war was reaching a ‘dangerous moment’, and urged his colleagues not to underestimate the gravity of such threats.

‘Certainly it’s a dangerous moment because the Russian army has been pushed into a corner, and Putin’s reaction – threatening using nuclear arms – it’s very bad,’ Mr Borrell told the BBC.

Russian forces in occupied territories have faced severe losses in recent weeks following a series of successful Ukrainian counterattacks, prompting a heavy-handed response from Moscow.

In a rare address to the nation earlier this week, Mr Putin warned his country has ‘various weapons of destruction’ available to them, and he was ‘not bluffing’ about using them.

‘When people say it is not a bluff, you have to take them seriously,’ Mr Borrell said, urging both sides to find a ‘diplomatic solution’ to the conflict as soon as possible- one that ‘preserves the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine’.

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Mr Borrell also dismissed concerns that supplies of arms from EU were running low, and urged members to pool their military resources earmarked for Ukraine’s war effort more efficiently.

In his speech on September 21, Putin also announced the conscription of 300,000 Russians.

Although on paper the draft only applies to those with ‘military experience’ national service is compulsory in Russia, and authorities have been using this loose definition to arrest anti-war protesters and even random civilians and forcibly ‘recruit’ them into the army.

Thousands more have since fled Russia following the announcement, with flights out of Moscow selling out within hours and ticket prices rising to over £8,000.

It comes after the Ukrainian armed forces successfully took back more than 8,000sq km of occupied territory from the Russians in Kherson and Kharkiv.

With the Russian army facing collapse in key areas, Putin seeks to hold snap-referendums in the occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, along with the self-styled ‘people’s republics’ of Luhansk and Donetsk in order to formally make them part of Russia.

Ukraine has denounced these ‘sham-referenda’ as nothing more than annexation attempts, and shared reports of armed Russian soldiers going door-to-door to intimidate locals into supporting the occupiers.

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If successful, the annexation would allow Putin to claim an attack on the territories is an attack on Russia itself, which the Kremlin could then claim justifies the use of nuclear weapons as retaliation.

Earlier this week US president Joe Biden said the use of nuclear would ‘change the face of war unlike anything since World War Two’ and urged Putin not to press the button, although he refused to comment on what the US response would be.

Photo Credit: Getty

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