Russian President Vladimir Putin has a direct message for Western leaders as nuclear tensions continue to escalate between Moscow and Washington, DC
“We have more [nuclear] weapons than NATO countries,” Putin said during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday. Fuck ’em, you know, like people say.”
Putin’s comments were translated into English by anton gerashchenko, former Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, on Twitter. Other translations of the statement quote Putin as saying, “Fuck them.”
The harsh words came just minutes after Putin announced that Russia had officially moved some tactical nuclear warheads to Belarus as he had previously promised Belarusian President and Kremlin ally Alexander Lukashenko. Putin stressed, however, that he did not see an immediate need for Russia to resort to using such weapons in the Ukraine war, saying that moving the warheads “is precisely like a deterrent for all those who are thinking in inflicting a strategic defeat attack on us are no strangers to this circumstance,” Reuters reported.
Russian authorities have repeatedly scoffed at the possibility of using nuclear weapons since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. On Thursday, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told reporters that the Kremlin had not ruled out the possibility. to use nuclear weapons to defend themselves, adding that “the hypothetical use of nuclear weapons is clearly limited by extraordinary circumstances within the framework of strictly defensive purposes.”
Putin further strained US-Russian nuclear negotiations after announcing earlier this year that Moscow would suspend its end of the deal laid out in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). The White House has said it is ready to talk “without conditions” about the future of a nuclear arms treaty with the Kremlin, but Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday that recent talks between the two adversaries they only “confirmed their opposite and irreconcilable ideas.” positions”.
“The suspension of New START remains in effect and this decision can be reversed or reconsidered only if the United States demonstrates its willingness to abandon its fundamentally hostile policy towards the Russian Federation,” Ryabkov told Russian state news site TASS.
However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov followed up on Putin’s comments on Friday, narration TASS that the phrase “f *** them” does not mean that Moscow opposes discussions on the future of nuclear weapons agreements with Washington.
“Russia is ready to negotiate,” Peskov said.
news week has contacted the US Department of State by email for comment.