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Don't mess with nuclear-armed Russia, says Putin

Dont mess with nuclear-armed Russia, says Putin

Moscow: Russian President, Vladimir Putin on Friday said that Russia's armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression as he defied international condemnation over his decision to send thousands of Russian troops and heavy armor into Ukraine.

Putin told the assembly, on the banks of a lake Seliger near Moscow, that the Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence. He said that continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists launched an uprising in April, was the result of a refusal by Kiev to negotiate.

Ukraine and Western governments accuse Russia of sending troops and armor to back the separatists in a conflict that has already killed over 2,000 people. Russia denies the charge.

“Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts,” he said adding that “We don’t want that and don’t plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers."

Putin’s comments are likely to tense the Western governments as they try to bring Russia into check. The European leaders would be gathering for an emergency summit to discuss further sanctions on Moscow.

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