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Contrary to public opinion, President Putin is not in favor of nuclear annihilation

Meduza

In a new documentary film released online by pro-Kremlin pundit Vladimir Solovyov, President Putin tells him in an interview that nuclear war would lead to a global catastrophe that could mean the end of Russia. 

“Why would we want a world where there’s no Russia?” Putin says in the film. The president also says Russia can only use its nuclear weapons if its early warning system detects that an enemy has launched missiles with a trajectory aimed at Russian territory.

“It’s called a retaliatory counter-strike,” Putin explains. “If the decision is made to destroy Russia, then we gain the legal right to respond.” The president also added that Russia’s plans for a nuclear counter-strike are only theoretical, and he hopes they’ll stay that way.

Why the sudden talk of nuclear war? 

On March 1, Vladimir Putin devoted roughly 40 percent of his state-of-the-nation speech to describing Russia’s latest high-tech weapons, highlighting several missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to targets under the umbrella of missile-defense systems. The president singled out the United States, the other country on Earth with thousands of nuclear weapons.

For all Putin's sudden talk of nukes, you can probably thank U.S. President Trump for promising to “modernize and rebuild [America's] nuclear arsenal [...] making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression” in his State of the Union Address this January.