Putin stops mass bombings in Ukraine, says war with NATO would be ‘a global catastrophe’

Russia’s leader held a press conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, and responded to the statement by the head of the European Union on the annihilation of Russian troops.

Valery SHARIFULIN / SPUTNIK / AFPputin nato ukraine
Putin during a press conference in Astana, Kazakhstan

the president of Russia, Vladimir Putinruled out the immediate launch of new mass bombings on the Ukraine and the expansion of troop deployments announced three weeks ago following setbacks in their forces. According to him, 222,000 soldiers, of the expected 300,000, have been recruited so far, and 16,000 are already in “units involved in the fighting”. The leader made these statements at a press conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, where he also responded to Joseph Borrell’s remarks. The head of EU diplomacy had said on Thursday, the 13th, that “any nuclear attack against Ukraine will generate a response; it will not be a nuclear response, but it will be so strong from a military point of view that the Russian army will be annihilated.” In response, Putin claimed that a war with NATO would be a global catastrophe. “I hope those who are saying this are smart enough not to take such steps,” he said, citing the risk of “global catastrophe” from an atomic strike. In the interview, the Russian said that what is happening today in Ukraine is not pleasant, however, he stressed the importance of his “military operation” – the way he classifies the war. “If Russia hadn’t invaded Ukraine, we would be in the same situation a little later, only worse conditions for us,” he added. “So we’re doing everything right,” he concluded.

This week, the conflict in Eastern Europe, which is approaching its eighth month, has heated up. The action is part of a massive bombing campaign against several Ukrainian cities, including Kiev, in retaliation for an explosion that damaged the Kerch bridge in Crimea, a peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. Ukrainian services, the Russian government announced on Friday that it intends to restore the bridge in less than nine months, before July 1, 2023. Built on the orders of the Russian president, this infrastructure is essential for supplying Russian troops in Ukraine. Since September Russia has been losing territory. In recent weeks they have been forced to withdraw from various positions in the east and south in the face of a surprising Ukrainian counteroffensive. The advance of Ukrainian forces forced the authorities established by the Kremlin in the Kherson region (south), annexed by Moscow, to request the withdrawal of civilians. Despite the Ukrainian counter-offensive, Russian and separatist forces carry out offensive moves in an eastern sector and say they are in a good position to conquer the city of Bakhmut. Controlling this city would allow Moscow to advance on two other cities controlled by Kiev in the Donetsk region, Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.

On the other hand, Putin’s talk does not intimidate the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskywhich promised victory to its citizens, in an act to commemorate Defender’s Day. “On October 14, we thank all those who fought for Ukraine in the past and all those who fight for it now, those who won in the past and those who will surely win now,” Zelensky said in a video. “Together towards victory!” launched the head of the Ukrainian army, Valery Zalujny. On the occasion of this holiday, portraits of about 180 soldiers who died in Mariupol, a port city besieged for months by the Russian army before it fell in May, were erected in front of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. This Friday, another complaint was made against Russian soldiers. THE UN Special Representative for Sexual Violence in Conflict Pramila Patten said the rapes and sexual assaults attributed to Russian forces in Ukraine are a “military strategy” and a “deliberate tactic to dehumanize victims”. “When we hear the testimonies of women talking about Russian soldiers equipped with Viagra, it is clearly a military strategy,” he explained.

*With information from AFP

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