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Putin Says Russia Could Target Countries Supplying Weapons to Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin warned Wednesday that Western countries supplying Ukraine with long-range missiles and authorizing their use to attack inside Russia constituted a “dangerous step” that could prompt Moscow to surrender the same against Western targets.

“If someone thinks that it is possible to send such weapons to a war zone to hit our territory and create problems for us,” Mr. Putin told a news conference, “then why not Do we not have the right to send our weapons of the same type? class towards the regions of the world where strikes can be carried out on sensitive installations of the countries which do so against Russia?

Mr. Putin pointed the finger at Germany, saying that its supply of battle tanks to Ukraine was an initial blow to Russian-German relations, but that its authorization to use missiles in Russia was even worse.

“Now when they say that missiles will appear and hit targets on Russian territory, of course this will ultimately destroy Russian-German relations,” he said.

Mr. Putin was speaking to editors of at least 15 news agencies from around the world, invited to meet him on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. Mr. Putin had ignored tradition since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, but this year the invitation was extended to Western media outlets such as the Associated Press, Reuters and various European agencies, including the Agence France-Presse, DPA of Germany, ANSA of Italy and EFE of Spain.

Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry S. Peskov, told reporters that representatives from “hostile countries” were included because “it is very important for them to know Putin and understand Russia first-hand,” according to the official Russian news agency TASS.

Western business executives largely avoided the forum, while China had a significant presence, including the unveiling of a bulletproof limousine retailing for more than $560,000 in China, Tass reported.

Mr. Putin answered questions on a wide range of topics, but most of the questions focused on the war in Ukraine. Although Russia invaded Ukraine after beginning to destabilize eastern regions in 2014 by supporting separatists, Mr. Putin again framed the war as the fault of Ukraine and its Western allies.

Countries that supply weapons to Ukraine risk being drawn into a war with Russia, he said.

It is unclear where Mr. Putin planned to position Russian weapons in other regions. Troops and weaponry were deployed to Belarus, possibly including nuclear missiles, during the war. Belarus is closer to Europe than to Russia, as is the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. Russia also has forces in Syria, near bases where the United States operates.

As for relations with Washington, Mr. Putin said he did not think the impending presidential election would change much as long as the United States continued its quest for “greatness.”

Asked about the recent conviction of former President Donald J. Trump, Mr. Putin said the United States was burning itself from the inside. “It is evident around the world that the prosecution of Trump, especially in court based on accusations based on events that happened years ago, without direct evidence, is simply using the justice system in a fight internal politics,” he said. said.

Regarding Evan Gershkovich, the American Wall Street Journal journalist imprisoned in Russia for espionage for more than a year, Mr. Putin said the United States was taking “vigorous steps” for his release. Mr. Gershkovich, the Journal and the U.S. government have all denied the accusations.

Such issues “should only be resolved on the basis of reciprocity,” Mr. Putin added. “Relevant US and Russian agencies are in contact on this issue.”

Milana Mazaiva reports contributed.

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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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