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Russia-Ukraine war – live: Putin threatens Nato with World War 3 as nuclear risk at ‘highest point in decades’

Putin threatens Nato with ‘World War 3’

Vladimir Putin has warned against any move that would risk direct conflict with Russia, saying it would be “one step away from World War 3”.

Asked about the dangers of a wide-scale Nato-Russia conflict, Putin said: “Everything is possible in the modern world.”

It is the latest example of the Russian president dangling the threat of a larger, or even nuclear, conflict in Europe as he attempts to pressure Ukraine’s Western allies against an escalation of their involvement in his war.

It comes as United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres said the risk of nuclear war was the highest it has been in decades.

“Geopolitical tensions and mistrust have escalated the risk of nuclear warfare to its highest point in decades,” he said during a UN security Council meeting.

He said the Doomsday Clock – the symbol for humanity’s proximity to self-destruction – “is ticking loudly enough for all to hear”.

Referencing the Oscar-winning film Oppenheimer, he added: “Humanity cannot survive a sequel.”

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EU Foreign Ministers support taking revenues from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine, EU’s Borrell says

The Foreign Ministers of the European Union’s member states strongly support taking the revenues from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.

“I am not saying there was unanimity but (there was) a strong consensus to take this decision,” Borrell told reporters on Monday after a meeting with the ministers held in Brussels.

Yulia Navalnaya, wife of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, left, shakes hands with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell prior to addressing a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels in February

(AP)

Tom Watling18 March 2024 20:00

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The story of Putin’s move 10 years ago that led to war with Ukraine and rising tensions with the West

The quick and bloodless seizure of the diamond-shaped peninsula, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet and a popular vacation site, touched off a wave of patriotism and sent Putin’s popularity soaring. “Crimea is ours!” became a popular slogan in Russia.

Now that Putin has been anointed to another six-year term as president, he is determined to extend his gains in Ukraine amid Russia’s battlefield successes and waning Western support for Kyiv.

Tom Watling18 March 2024 19:15

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UN secretary general calls for US and Russia to resume nuclear weapons talks

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has urged Russia and the US to resume their relationship regarding nuclear weapons, saying that “humanity cannot survive a sequel to Oppenheimer”.

Vladimir Putin withdrew Russia from the New START treaty, which ensured Russia and the US kept relations open regarding nuclear arsenals, in February last year.

“To Hollywood, where Oppenheimer brought the harsh reality of nuclear doomsday to vivid life for millions around the world. Humanity cannot survive a sequel to Oppenheimer,” said Mr Guterres.

“Voice after voice, alarm after alarm, survivor after survivor, are calling the world back from the brink.We need reductions in the number of nuclear weapons.

“This reduction must be led by the holders of the largest nuclear arsenals, the United States and the Russian Federation, who must find a way back to the negotiating table to fully implement the New START Treaty and agree on its successor.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke at the security council today

(Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Tom Watling18 March 2024 18:15

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Putin greets Moscow rally after sham election win

A day after securing a new six-year term, Russian President Vladimir Putin has appeared briefly at an open-air concert on Red Square on Monday to mark the 10th anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

The annexation of the Black Sea peninsula was a precursor to Moscow’s seizure of four other Ukraine regions in 2022 that it has declared parts of Russia, in actions condemned as illegal by most countries at the United Nations.

Putin told a large, flag-waving crowd that the “return” of those other regions to Russia had turned out to be “much more grave and tragic” than Crimea’s, but it had been accomplished.

Two years after Putin launched his war in Ukraine, Russia has not fully captured the four regions, but voting in Russia’s three-day presidential election that ended on Sunday was held in the parts of Ukraine that its forces control. Ukraine said the exercise was illegal and void.

Putin said officials had reported early on Monday that rail links had been restored from Rostov in southern Russia to the Russian-controlled cities of Donetsk, Mariupol and Berdyansk, and further upgrades would follow.

People attend a rally and a concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, at Red Square in Moscow on March 18

(AFP via Getty Images)

Tom Watling18 March 2024 17:24

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Western leaders line up to condemn Putin’s sham election – as result labelled most corrupt in Russian history

The Kremlin claimed that Vladimir Putin won more than 87 per cent of the vote, by far the biggest landslide in post-Soviet Russian history, following years of repression and a crackdown on dissent that has accelerated since Moscow invaded Ukraine two years ago.

Tom Watling18 March 2024 17:15

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Putin meets with three other election candidates

Vladimir Putin has met with the three other candidates who were on the ballot for the presidential elections.

Images have shown Putin speaking to Nikolay Kharitonov of Russia’s Communist Party, Vladislav Davankov of the “New People” party and Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia in Moscow.

None of the candidates achieved more than 4.3 per cent of the vote, according to the Kremlin-controlled central election commission. In reality, they were all hand-picked by the Kremlin to offer the illusion of a democratic vote.

Davankov, the nominally pro-peace candidate, even said his involvement was not about victory but rather simply participating in the ballot.

Vladimir Putin speaks to the three other candidates of the rigged Russian elections on Monday

(AP)

Tom Watling18 March 2024 16:45

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EU council agrees on a €5bn aid package to Ukraine armed forces

The European council has agreed to increase its support to Ukrainian armed forces by €5 billion (£4.3 billion), through a dedicated assistance fund, it said in a statement.

“With the fund, we will continue to support Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s war of aggression with whatever it takes and for as long as we need to”, EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

Tom Watling18 March 2024 16:19

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‘Putin’s forces fire 22 shells for every one we have’: Ukraine’s troops dig in to keep Russia from key target

Askold Krushelnycky speaks to soldiers on the frontline around the city of Kupiansk as they face increasingly intense assault by Russia, including glide bombs that can destroy bunkers. Kyiv’s forces are fortifying their defences with razor wire, trenches and metal ‘dragon’s teeth’ to ensnare any tanks that seek to break through

Ukraine’s troops dig in to keep Putin’s forces from key target Kupiansk

Askold Krushelnycky speaks to soldiers on the frontline around the city of Kupiansk as they face increasingly intense assault by Russia, including glide bombs that can destroy bunkers. Kyiv’s forces are fortifying their defences with razor wire, trenches and metal ‘dragon’s teeth’ to ensnare any tanks that seek to break through

Tom Watling18 March 2024 15:46

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The story of Putin’s move 10 years ago that led to war with Ukraine and rising tensions with the West

The quick and bloodless seizure of the diamond-shaped peninsula, home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet and a popular vacation site, touched off a wave of patriotism and sent Putin’s popularity soaring. “Crimea is ours!” became a popular slogan in Russia.

Now that Putin has been anointed to another six-year term as president, he is determined to extend his gains in Ukraine amid Russia’s battlefield successes and waning Western support for Kyiv.

Tom Watling18 March 2024 15:00

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Ukraine says Putin’s buffer zone comment is clear sign of looming escalation

A senior Ukrainian official said on Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin’s idea of creating a buffer zone inside Ukrainian territory was a clear indication that Moscow planned to escalate its war in neighbouring Ukraine.

Putin raised the possibility of setting up a buffer zone during a speech after winning re-election on Sunday, a move the Kremlin said would be the only way to protect Russia from Ukrainian attacks.

“This is … a direct manifest statement that the war will only escalate,” presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters in a written statement.

“All this is direct evidence that the Russian Federation is not ready to live in modern social and political relations, taking into account the absolute sovereign rights of other countries,” he said.

Putin made the comment after winning a fifth term in the Krmelin at a three-day election decried as a sham by the West.

The Kremlin leader did not provide details, but said the buffer zone may have to be big enough to stop what he said were foreign-made weapons striking Russian territory.

Ukraine has previously said that it only uses its own weapons to hit Russian territory. Some of its key allies, such as the U.S., have provided weapons on the condition they are not used inside Russia.

Kyiv stepped up its long-range drone strikes on oil refineries in Russia last week and paramilitary groups also staged cross-border attacks from Ukraine into western Russia.

Tom Watling18 March 2024 14:30


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