Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the threat of nuclear war is increasing.
In a meeting at the Kremlin with Russia's Human Rights Council, Putin said "In terms of the threat of nuclear war, you are right, such threat is increasing. As for the idea that Russia wouldn't use such weapons first under any circumstances, then it means we wouldn't be able to be the second to use them either — because the possibility to do so in case of an attack on our territory would be very limited,"
Putin added, "Nevertheless, we have a strategy... namely, as a defense, we consider weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons — it is all based around the so-called retaliatory strike — that is, when we are struck, we strike in response."
The Russian leader said that US nuclear weapons were located in large numbers on the European continent, while Russia had not transferred its nuclear weapons to other territories and is not planning to do so, but "will protect its allies with all the means at its disposal, if necessary."
Putin says he still views nuclear weapons as a deterrent measure. "We have not gone crazy. We are aware of what nuclear weapons are. We have these means, they are in a more advanced and modern form than those of any other nuclear country, this is obvious," he said.
"But we are not going to brandish these weapons like a razor, running around the world. Of course, we proceed from the fact that it exists. This is a deterrent factor that does not provoke the expansion of conflicts, but a deterrent, and I hope everyone understands this," Putin explained.