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Putin threatens deployment of missiles to strike the West

‘Russia doesn’t have imperial ambitions – it’s bol—cks’

In the press conference with the heads of major Western news agencies Putin denied that he had “imperial ambitions” to expand Russia’s borders.

”They’ve come up with this idea that Russia wants to attack Nato,” he said, banging his fist on the table.

“Have you lost your mind? Are you as thick as two short planks? Who made this up? It’s nonsense, it’s bo—cks,” he said, according to an AFP translation.

”There is no need to look for some imperial ambitions of ours. There are none.”

Putin has barely addressed international journalists since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine and he has not taken questions from Western journalists since the invasion.

Russia denied for months that it was preparing a military offensive in Ukraine before launching the assault, accusing Nato powers of trying to use their Ukrainian ally to harm Russia.

‘We’ll use all means at our disposal’

Despite denying the possibility of attacking Nato countries, Putin cautioned the West that Russia could use “all available means” to defend itself if its sovereignty or territorial integrity were threatened.

He said that Russia’s nuclear doctrine permits its weapons to be used in response to several threats.

“For some reason, the West believes that Russia will never use it,” Putin said. “We have a nuclear doctrine, look what it says. If someone’s actions threaten our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we consider it possible for us to use all means at our disposal. This should not be taken lightly, superficially.”

Putin also touched upon Russia-US relations in the meeting, telling journalists that nothing will change between the two countries regardless of whether Mr Biden or Donald Trump wins the presidential election in November.

“We will work with any president the American people elect,” Putin said. “I say absolutely sincerely, I wouldn’t say that we believe that after the election something will change on the Russian track in American politics,” he added. “We don’t think so. We think nothing that serious will happen.”

Putin declined to give the number of Russia’s battlefield losses in conflict with Ukraine, which has raged for more than two years, saying only that Ukraine’s were five times higher.

“I can tell you that as a rule, no one talks about it,” Putin said when asked why Russia had not yet disclosed a figure. “If we talk about irrecoverable losses, the ratio is one to five.”

The issue of military casualties is extremely sensitive in Russia. All criticism of the conflict is banned and “spreading false information” about the army carries a maximum 15-year jail sentence.