Putin Warns of Escalation, Calls for Peace Talks Amid Rising Tensions
Putin Warns of Escalation, Calls for Peace Talks Amid Rising Tensions

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a stark warning to the West on Monday, cautioning that any direct confrontation between Russia and the NATO alliance could escalate into World War Three. However, he emphasized that few desire such a catastrophic outcome.

Tensions stemming from the conflict in Ukraine have plunged Moscow's relations with the West to their lowest point since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Despite frequent mentions of the risk of nuclear war, Putin stated that he has never considered the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

In recent times, French President Emmanuel Macron hinted at the possibility of deploying ground troops in Ukraine, a suggestion met with mixed reactions from Western nations. Putin highlighted the presence of NATO military personnel in Ukraine, noting instances of English and French being spoken on the battlefield, which he described as unfortunate due to the loss of life.

As the Russian election escalated, Ukraine intensified attacks on Russian border regions, even resorting to proxies to breach Russian borders. When asked about potential actions regarding Ukraine's Kharkiv region, Putin suggested the creation of a buffer zone to safeguard Russian territory if attacks persist.

Putin refrained from divulging specifics but hinted at the possibility of a sizable "sanitary zone" to prevent foreign armaments from reaching Russian territory. The invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, following years of conflict in eastern Ukraine, marked a significant escalation in tensions.

Expressing hope for France to play a constructive role in ending the conflict, Putin reiterated his stance on peace talks. He criticized Western criticism of Russia's recent election, likening it to the alleged undemocratic practices in U.S. elections and condemning the use of state power against former President Donald Trump.

Regarding the fate of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in a Russian prison in February under mysterious circumstances, Putin acknowledged his passing for one of the first times in public. Putin claimed to have agreed to a prisoner swap involving Navalny days before his death, with the condition that Navalny would not return to Russia. Navalny's widow has accused Putin of involvement in her husband's death, a claim dismissed by the Kremlin.

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