Putin Warns West Russia’s Nuclear Arsenal Is On ‘Full Combat Alert’

The warning came after French President Emmanuel Macron suggested NATO may deploy troops to Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech on Thursday that Russia’s nuclear arsenal is in “full combat alert,” a warning that comes after French President Emmanuel Macron said the idea of NATO deploying troops to Ukraine was not ruled out.

“The strategic nuclear forces are on full combat alert, and the ability to use them is assured,” Putin told Russia’s Federal Assembly, which includes both chambers of the Russian parliament.

Later in the speech, Putin specifically addressed the talk of NATO sending troops to Ukraine. “They are selecting targets to strike on our territory and contemplating the most efficient means of destruction,” he said, likely referring to US and NATO intelligence support for Ukraine.

“Now they have started talking about the possibility of deploying NATO military contingents to Ukraine,” Putin said. “But we remember what happened to those who sent their contingents to the territory of our country once before. Today, any potential aggressors will face far graver consequences. They must grasp that we also have weapons – yes, they know this, as I have just said – capable of striking targets on their territory.”

Putin said the West was “spooking the world with the threat of a conflict involving nuclear weapons, which potentially means the end of civilization – don’t they realize this?”

Macron’s comments about Western troops in Ukraine drew attention to the fact that there are already a small number of NATO special operations forces in the country, which was revealed by the Discord leaks last year. According to a leaked Pentagon document from March 2023, there were 97 NATO special operations soldiers, including 14 Americans, in Ukraine at the time.

A European official told Financial Times this week that “everyone knows there are Western special forces in Ukraine — they’ve just not acknowledged it officially.” In response to Macron’s comments, NATO and some of its members said there were no plans to send combat troops to Ukraine to take on Russia directly.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.