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Putin (again) raises the spectre of nuclear war

Once again, Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised the threat of nuclear weapons, while also announcing that Russia will deploy troops to the Finnish border. In an interview with state media earlier today, he said Russia was prepared for a nuclear war and warned the United States not to send troops to Ukraine. Putin has repeatedly threatened to escalate his invasion of Ukraine into a nuclear war, if needs be. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is now in its third year, with almost 6.5 million Ukrainian refugees still living abroad and a humanitarian crisis within Ukraine that shows little sign of abating. The timing of Putin’s comments, which some viewed as softer than earlier threats, could be significant. Russia is set to hold elections on 15 March, with President Putin expected to be re-elected without much of a contest, especially as one of his main opponents, Alexei Navalny, died in suspicious circumstances in prison last month. When Putin issued similar nuclear threats in 2022, we published an op-ed from Alicia Sanders-Zakre, research and policy coordinator at the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). She outlined why it’s important to consider the humanitarian implications of nuclear weapons and urged more countries to join the movement to ban their use. Here is another chance to read that piece.

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