Putin issues warning to the west: Russia prepared for nuclear conflict

President Vladimir Putin told the West on Wednesday that Russia was technically ready for nuclear war and that if the U.S. sent troops to Ukraine, it would be considered a significant escalation of the conflict.

Putin, speaking ahead of a March 15-17 election which is certain to give him another six years in power, added that the nuclear war scenario was not “rushing” up and he saw no need for the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

“From a military-technical point of view, we are, of course, ready,” Putin, 71, told Rossiya-1 television and news agency RIA when asked whether Russia was really ready for a nuclear war.

Putin said the U.S. understood that if it deployed American troops on Russian territory – or to Ukraine – Russia would treat the move as an intervention. Moscow claims to have annexed four regions of Ukraine and says they are now fully part of Russia.

“(In the U.S.) there are enough specialists in the field of Russian-American relations and in the field of strategic restraint,” said Putin.

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