Ukraine-Russia war live: Putin in rambling nuclear war threat against Nato as Kyiv shoots down more warplanes

By Isaac M February 29, 2024

Russian forces clear out abandoned military equipment after Ukrainian troops’ retreat from Avdiivka

Vladimir Putin’s state of the nation address has been full of rambling threats against the West, who he has accused again of starting the war in Ukraine and of attacking Russia.

“We are dealing with a state whose ruling circles are taking open hostile actions against us,” he said, suggesting that Nato forces are “preparing to strike our territory”.

He said: “We too have weapons that can strike on their territory.

“Everything they use to threaten us, all this is a real threat of nuclear weapons being used, which spells the destruction of civilisation. Do they not understand this?”

In reality, there is no evidence that Nato is planning to strike Russian territory nor that it has ever been officially involved in fighting in Ukraine.

Putin also began his address by claiming that the “absolute majority” of Russians supported what he calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine before calling for a minute’s silence for all Russians killed on the frontline.

His address to both houses of Russia’s parliament was broadcasted to cinemas across Russia. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the speech could be considered Putin’s election programme.

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Putin makes renewed threat of nuclear war

Vladimir Putin has issued a renewed threat of nuclear war.

“We too have weapons that can strike on their territory,” Putin said.

“Everything they use to threaten us, all this is a real threat of nuclear weapons being used, which spells the destruction of civilisation. Do they not understand this?”

Earlier during his speech, however, he played down the possibility of nuclear escalation.

Tom Watling29 February 2024 09:36

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Putin claims ‘absolute majority’ of Russian support the war in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has begun his speech claiming the “absolute majority” of Russians support the war in Ukraine, which he terms a “special military operation”.

“Our heroes on the frontline, where it is the hardest, they know the whole country is with them.” Putin said.

He later described the Russian forces as “indestructible”.

Tom Watling29 February 2024 09:22

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Putin praises annexation of Crimea

Vladimir Putin says the annexation of Crimea is a “matter of pride”, a decade after it was announced.

Tom Watling29 February 2024 09:18

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Putin begins his parliamentary address

Vladimir Putin has begun his parliamentary address.

We will keep you updated on what he says as translations come through.

Tom Watling29 February 2024 09:14

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European leaders rule out sending troops to Ukraine after Macron suggestion – as Russia warns of war with Nato

Leaders across Europe have lined up to rule out putting troops on the ground in Ukraine after French president Emmanuel Macron announced he was open to the idea of sending soldiers to fight against Vladimir Putin’s forces – as the Kremlin warned of the “inevitability” of a direct war with Nato if such a move took place.

Tom Watling29 February 2024 08:58

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Ukraine repels Russian attacks but situation is difficult, top general says

Ukrainian forces have pushed back Russian troops from the village of Orlivka, west of Avdiivka, but the situation on the eastern front remains difficult, Ukrainian army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi has admitted

Orlivka is less than 2 kilometres northwest of Lastochkyne, which was recently occupied by Russian forces.

Russian forces last week captured the strategic eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka after a months-long assault and are pressing on several other areas along the front line, Ukrainian authorities say.

Ukraine‘s military said this week it had withdrawn from two more villages near Avdiivka, losing more territory as support from its Western allies runs short.

“The enemy continues active offensive actions in many areas of the front line. The situation is particularly tense in the Avdiivka and Zaporizhzhia sectors,” Gen Syrskyi said on the Telegram messaging app.

He said Russian assault units were trying to break through the Ukrainian defences and capture the settlements of Tonenke, Orlivka, Semenivka, Berdychi and Krasnohorivka.

Syrskyi, who visited troops on the eastern front, said some commanders had revealed certain shortcomings in their “situational awareness and assessment of the enemy”, which directly affected the sustainability of defence in certain areas.

“I took all measures to remedy the situation on the ground, with the allocation of additional ammunition and material resources, as well as the necessary reserves,” Syrskyi said.

The Ukrainian military and President Volodymyr Zelensky have repeatedly said that troops are lacking military equipment and ammunition needed to repel Russian attacks because of a shortage of military aid from Western allies.

Ukraine’s military chief Oleksandr Syrskyi visits positions near the frontline in eastern Ukraine

(Telegram )

Tom Watling29 February 2024 08:35

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Germany accused of ‘flagrant abuse of intelligence’ for revealing British help in Ukraine

On Monday, he said that German soldiers could not follow the lead of their British and French allies in “the way of target control and accompanying target control”.

Tom Watling29 February 2024 08:07

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Ukraine downs Russian fighter jet, Kyiv claims

Ukraine has downed another Russian fighter jet, the head of the Ukrainian Air Force has claimed.

“Today, February 29, is a date that occurs once every four years, but it is already a familiar day for Russians with the loss of another plane,” said Mykola Oleshchuk.

He said Ukraine shot down a Su-34 fighter jet in the eastern direction, without providing further details.

At least half a dozen Su-43s have been shot down in the past fortnight, according to claims made by Mr Oleshchuk.

Tom Watling29 February 2024 07:38

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David Cameron steps up pressure on Putin to free ‘heir’ to Alexei Navalny

David Cameron is to rachet up pressure on Vladimir Putin by meeting the wife of Russia’s most prominent opposition leader after Alexei Navalny for crunch Whitehall talks, The Independent can reveal.

In a marked escalation of political tensions between the UK and Russia, the foreign secretary will on Friday sit down with Evgenia Kara-Murza, whose Cambridge-educated husband, Vladimir Kara-Murza, is serving a 25-year sentence in a remote Siberian penal colony for spreading “false” information about the Russian army.

The high-level talks come as human rights figures warn the “heir to Navalny” is next on Putin’s hitlist.

Tom Watling29 February 2024 07:17

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Putin allies tell Macron: Any French troops you send to Ukraine will suffer fate of Napoleon’s army

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament and a close Putin ally, said Macron appeared to see himself as Napoleon and warned him against following in the footsteps of the French emperor.

“To maintain his personal power, Macron could not think of anything better than to ignite a third world war. His initiatives are becoming dangerous for the citizens of France,” Volodin said on his official social media feed.

“Before making such statements, it would be right for Macron to remember how it ended for Napoleon and his soldiers, more than 600,000 of whom were left lying in the damp earth.”

Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia made rapid progress initially and captured Moscow. But Russian tactics forced his Grande Armee into a long retreat and hundreds of thousands of his men died as a result of disease, starvation and cold.

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference at the end of the meeting in support of Ukraine

(EPA)

Barney Davis29 February 2024 06:02

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