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Putin warns that Russia could provide long-range weapons to others to strike Western targets

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — President Vladimir Putin warned Germany on Wednesday that Ukraine’s use of its weapons to strike targets in Russia would be a “dangerous step,” and he said Moscow could at its discretion turn provide long range weapons to others. strike Western targets.

Such action by the West would further undermine international security and could lead to “very serious problems.” he said.

“This would mark their direct involvement in the war against the Russian Federation, and we reserve the right to act in the same way,” Putin added.

Since the use of such Western weapons to strike Russian territory involves military personnel from the respective countries controlling the missiles and selecting targets, Putin said, Moscow could take “asymmetric” measures. This could include supplying such weapons to others to target respective countries’ installations elsewhere in the world, he added.

“If they consider it possible to deliver such weapons to the combat zone to launch strikes on our territory and create problems for us, why do we not have the right to supply weapons of the same type to certain regions of the world where they can be used to launch strikes on sensitive installations of countries that do so to Russia?

“We will think about it,” he said

Germany recently joined the United States in allowing Ukraine to strike certain targets on Russian soil with the long-range weapons it supplies to kyiv. Deliveries of German tanks to Ukraine came as a shock to many Russians, he said.

“Now if they use missiles to hit facilities on Russian territory, it will completely ruin Russian-German relations,” he said.

On Wednesday, a Western official and a U.S. senator said Ukraine used U.S. weapons to strike in Russia under the newly approved leadership of President Joe Biden. It authorizes the use of U.S. weapons for the limited purpose of defending Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the sensitive issue and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Answering questions from international journalists for the first time since his inauguration last month for a fifth term, Putin also said nothing would change in terms of Russian-US relations whether Biden or Donald Trump wins November’s US presidential election .

“We will work with any president elected by the American people,” Putin said on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

“I say this in all sincerity, I wouldn’t say that we think that after the elections anything will change on the Russian side in American politics,” he added. ” We do not think so. We don’t think anything that bad will happen.

Putin also said Trump’s felony conviction in his secret trial last week was the result of “using the justice system as part of the internal political struggle.”

The Russian leader faced questions on a variety of topics from senior officials at international news agencies, including the Associated Press, although the more than two years of fighting in Ukraine dominated the session.

Asked about Russian military losses, Putin said no country would reveal such information during hostilities, but claimed without providing details that Ukraine’s losses were five times greater than Russia’s.

He also said that Ukraine had more than 1,300 Russian troops in captivity, while more than 6,400 Ukrainian troops were detained in Russia.

The claims could not be independently verified.

Putin has used the annual forum as a showcase to tout Russia’s development and seek investors. While meetings with journalists were part of previous sessions, he did not answer questions from Western journalists at the St. Petersburg event since sending troops to Ukraine.

Last year, journalists from countries Russia considers hostile – including the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union – were not invited, and Western officials and investors also avoided the session after broad sanctions were imposed on Moscow over Ukraine.


Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani in Washington contributed.

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