Vladimir Putin toys with idea of ‘pre-emptive’ nuclear strike

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday (December 9) that Russia could include possibility of a pre-emptive strike in its military doctrine, in an apparent reference to nuclear attack. He was speaking with reporters in Kyrghyzstan. 

The reference to pre-emptive strike came in an answer to a reporter’s question who asked Putin to clarify his statement on use of nuclear weapons. Putin said Moscow was considering whether to adopt what he called Washington’s concept of a pre-emptive strike.

“First of all, the United States has the concept of a preemptive strike. Second, it is developing a disarming strike system,” Putin told reporters in Kyrgyzstan. 

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Putin said Moscow might need to think about adopting US  “ideas for ensuring their own security.”

“We’re just thinking about it,” he said.

“If a potential adversary believes that it is possible to use the concept of a preemptive strike, but we do not, then nevertheless this makes us think about the threats that such ideas pose to us.”

Russia attacked Ukraine in February this year. After sustained gains in first few months of the conflict, Russian forces have had to retreat in the face of Ukrainian counterattacks. There is fear in Western camp that Russia might use tactical nuclear weapons if it feels that it was taking a beating in conventional conflict with Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Putin warned that nuclear tensions were rising, although he insisted that Moscow would not be the first to deploy atomic weapons.

At the same he said: “If we aren’t the first to use them under any circumstances, then we will not be the second to use them either.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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