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for Putin, the threat of a nuclear war is growing

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Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Wednesday December 7 that the conflict in Ukraine was ” long “ and relativized the risk of recourse to nuclear weapons. “We haven’t gone mad, we know what nuclear weapons are”said the Russian head of state, speaking by videoconference before his Human Rights Council, an organization entirely subject to the Kremlin.

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The president, who has always denied wanting to conquer new territories in Ukraine, has once again justified the offensive he launched more than nine months ago. “Regarding the long process of the results of the special military operation, of course, it is a long process”said the Russian president.

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Several humiliating defeats for Putin

The Russian offensive launched on February 24 was supposed to end in a lightning victory, but the Ukrainian army, galvanized by Western support and weapons, forced Russia to give up in the spring in kyiv, then to retreat to several other regions in the fall.

Responding to one of his interlocutors, Vladimir Putin nevertheless noted that “the appearance of new territories” was a “significant result for Russia”. “The Sea of ​​Azov has become an inland sea, it’s a serious thing”he proclaimed, in reference to this sea bordering Russia and the south-east of Ukraine, of which Moscow now controls the entire shore.

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In addition, Vladimir Putin claimed in September the annexation of four Ukrainian regions although Russian control there is only partial and the fighting is daily. This month, the Russian army had to retreat from Kherson, capital of the eponymous region that Russia considers its own. A humiliating withdrawal which followed, in September, that of north-eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin had always denied that its offensive against Ukraine was intended to conquer new territories, claiming to want to defend the Russian-speaking populations and put an end to the alliance between kyiv and the West, considered threatening by Russia.

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The threat of nuclear war

After several threats from Russian officials in recent months, Vladimir Putin hinted Wednesday that Moscow will only use nuclear weapons in response to such an attack.

“We considered weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons, as a means of defence. [Y recourir] is built around what is called the retaliatory strike: if we are struck, we are struck in response”, added the Russian president. He nevertheless noted that “the threat of nuclear war is growing”with regard to the Russia-West confrontation around Ukraine, making the Americans and Europeans responsible.

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A few minutes earlier, during this same meeting by videoconference, Vladimir Putin returned to the mobilization of 300,000 reservists, civilians therefore, noting that only half were immediately deployed in Ukraine.

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The announcement of the mobilization had provoked an exodus of Russians abroad and revealed the army’s serious equipment problems. Vladimir Putin assured this Wednesday that he was not planning a new wave at the moment.

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Energy facilities bombed

On the front, the bombardments continued with in particular six civilians killed and five wounded in a Russian strike on the town of Kurakhové, near Donetsk, in the East where most of the fighting is currently concentrated. “A market, a bus station, gas stations and apartment buildings were the targets of strikes”denounced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The day before, in Donetsk itself, under the control of pro-Russian separatists since 2014, six civilians were killed in Ukrainian strikes, according to local authorities.

Ukraine: the winter of all dangers

Faced with its setbacks on the ground, the Kremlin has decided since October to concentrate attacks on Ukrainian energy installations, depriving the population of electricity, even water and heating, when the temperatures are negative.

On Monday, the Russian army thus fired a barrage of some 70 missiles at Ukrainian infrastructure, however causing only moderate destruction according to kyiv, which claims to have intercepted 60 of these warheads thanks to its anti-aircraft defense, partly provided by its allies. Westerners.

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