Putin asserts Russia did not contribute to N. Korea’s nuclear program

Posted on : 2024-03-14 16:53 KST Modified on : 2024-03-14 16:53 KST
Russian president says Moscow is “ready” for nuclear war
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Mar. 12. (EPA/Yonhap News)
Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Mar. 12. (EPA/Yonhap News)

Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted that Russia has not helped North Korea in terms of its nuclear capabilities, explaining that Pyongyang has “its own nuclear umbrella.”

In an interview published Wednesday — two days ahead of Russia’s presidential election on March 15–17 — Putin conveyed a message warning the West that Russia was “ready” for nuclear war.

Putin was quoted by Reuters as saying in an interview published Wednesday with RIA Novosti and other Russian news outlets that North Korea “has its own nuclear umbrella.”

His remarks were a reference to the North’s armament with its own development of nuclear weapons through six different tests without Russian assistance.

“They didn’t ask us for anything,” he said of the leaders in Pyongyang. His remarks asserting that there has been no nuclear cooperation between the two sides came in response to Western allegations regarding the deepening military partnership between Moscow and Pyongyang.

In another warning message, Putin stressed that Russia is “ready” for nuclear warfare.

Explaining that Russia would use nuclear weapons to protect or preserve its existence as a state, or if its sovereignty or independence were compromised, Putin added, “From a military-technical point of view, we are, of course, ready.” 

Putin went on to say that Russia’s nuclear weapons were always in a combat readiness posture.

“Weapons exist in order to use them,” he also said. “We have our own principles.”

The “Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence” signed by Putin in June 2020 lists conditions for Russia’s use of nuclear weapons. They include scenarios in which enemy forces use nuclear arms or other weapons of mass destruction against the territory of Russia or its allies; the acquisition of credible evidence that ballistic missiles have been launched in a strike against Russia; a scenario where an attack on key Russian infrastructure weakens nuclear response action; and an existential threat due to an attack on Russia with conventional weapons.

But when asked if he had considered the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the current war with Ukraine, Putin responded, “There has never been such a need.”

On Mar. 9, the US network CNN reported that the US government had made preparations in late 2022 for the possibility of Russia carrying out a nuclear strike on Ukraine.

Putin further asserted that Russia’s air-, sea-, and land-based nuclear capabilities are more modern than those of the US. He also warned that if the US developed and tested new nuclear weapons, Russia would take corresponding action.

By Park Byong-su, senior staff writer

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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