Vladimir Putin humiliated as Russia’s nuclear threat assessed: ‘Just for show!’

Vladimir Putin 'doesn't really like Russians' claims Lord West

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US President Joe Biden threatened to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin after accusing him of badly misjudging the situation in Ukraine. The West has condemned the Kremlin after Moscow’s forces invaded the country last week. Major cities such as Kyiv and Kharkiv have been hit by missile strikes with Russian forces accused of attacking civilian areas. Conservative MP Damian Green tells Express.co.uk that Putin’s invasion is “appalling”.

He said it was a direct attack on democracy and the people who have been freed from the grip of authoritarianism in recent decades.

He said: “It’s the most appalling act in Europe anyone has committed for decades, what Putin has done.

“It is clearly an attempt to reverse the massive increase in democracy that has taken place in Eastern Europe since the West won the Cold War.

“Tens of millions of people in Eastern Europe are now free in a way they weren’t after the second world war and the Soviet takeover, and that’s one of the reasons we are supporting the people of the Ukraine.”

Mr Green was keen to add that Putin’s nuclear threat made earlier this week was “just for show”.

Asked if he was concerned about the UK and Russia being in direct conflict, the MP replied: “I’m obviously worried, we have already seen that Russia will start a war. It has started a war in Ukraine.

“What Putin is saying about nuclear weapons is for show I think, he will know that NATO has three times the nuclear firepower of Russia. So that’s an empty threat in terms of anything he might do to a NATO member.

“It’s a reminder of why we need the nuclear deterrent, it kept us safe through the Cold War, and it feels like we might be going back into that kind of era.”

The MP’s comments come after Putin instructed his military to put Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert.

Putin’s nuclear order came at a meeting between the president, defence minister Sergei Shoigu, and the chief of the general staff of the armed forces of Russia, Valery Gerasimov.

Putin said: “Senior officials of the leading NATO countries also allow aggressive statements against our country, therefore I order the minister of defence and the chief of the general staff [of the Russian armed forces] to transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty.

“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country.”

The NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, told CNN in reaction to Putin’s decision: “This is dangerous rhetoric. This is a behaviour which is irresponsible.”

Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that Putin may try to “Grozny-fy” the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Grozny is the capital of Chechnya, and it was pulverised by the Russians in the Second Chechen war.

In 2003, the UN called it the most destroyed city on earth.

Asked what he thought Putin would do next, Mr Johnson said: “I think that he’s gone into a cul-de-sac and it’s very difficult for him to back out, and that’s the problem we’ve got.

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“And if you’re sitting where he is, his only instinct is going to be to double down and to try and ‘Grozny-fy’ Kyiv, if you know what I mean.

“And to reduce it to [rubble], and I think that that would be an unalterable moral humanitarian catastrophe and I hope he doesn’t do that.

“I hope he has the wisdom to see that there must be a better way forward, but what he’s got to do is to disengage, with the column of tanks, 40km long, going towards Kyiv, he needs to put those tanks into reverse or turn them round and that is the number one thing.”

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