Russia's Vladimir Solovyov discusses war in Ukraine in 2008
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The Kremlin’s mouthpiece once told a Moscow threat audience that any Russian leader to authorise an attack on Ukraine would be a “criminal.” Vladimir Solovyov is now one of Vladimir Putin’s chief propagandists for the invasion of Ukraine, but footage from 2008 shows him arguing that a war between Ukraine and Russia should, and would, never happen.
“Let me put it this way – there will never be any war between Russia and Ukraine.
“Because any person who attempts in full seriousness to undertake such an act is a criminal.
“What’s more, I can’t even imagine how big a criminal.
“In Ukraine, there live people who are fraternal in spirit, blood and common history, a war with whom would be the worst crime you could think of.”
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“We don’t need to shout ‘Sevastopol is ours!’
“We don’t need to shout ‘Crimea is ours!’
“We just need to make life in our country so attractive that Ukrainians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Armenians, Georgians, all of them want to live in peace with us and come to us.”
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he doubted whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would use a tactical nuclear weapon as Ukraine pleaded for a rapid increase in Western military aid to defend against missile strikes on its cities.
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Explosions rocked the Russian-occupied southern towns of Kherson and Melitopol and air raid sirens blared over Kyiv, two days after Russia unleashed a barrage of missiles on Ukrainian towns in a major escalation of the conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, under domestic pressure to ramp up the war as his forces have lost ground since early September, ordered Monday’s missile strikes in response to an alleged Ukrainian attack on Russia’s bridge to annexed Crimea last weekend.
In recent weeks, Moscow moved to annex new tracts of Ukraine after referendums widely denounced as illegal, mobilised hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight, and repeatedly threatened to use nuclear arms, stoking alarm in the West.
Putin is a “rational actor who has miscalculated significantly,” Biden said in a CNN interview.
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Asked how realistic he believed it would be for Putin to use a tactical nuclear weapon, Biden responded: “Well, I don’t think he will.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday the military alliance has not noticed any change in Russia’s nuclear posture following the threats.
Ukraine’s military said its forces drove Russian troops out of several settlements near the Russian-occupied town of Beryslav in the Kherson region.
Also in the south, Russian missiles destroyed buildings in the Zaporizhzhia region overnight but there were no reports of casualties, regional Governor Oleksandr Starukh said on the Telegram messaging app.
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