War: Putin threatens with “asymmetric response” to attacks

Kremlin chief Putin warns that shelling Russian territory with Western weapons during the war in Ukraine is a direct involvement in the conflict. He threatens a concrete response.

Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has threatened an “asymmetric response” if Russian territory is attacked by Ukraine with weapons supplied from the West. Specifically, Putin said in St. Petersburg that Moscow is considering stationing its weapons in other regions of the world, from where they could be used to attack the countries from which the weapons aimed at Russia come.

“We are thinking that if someone thinks it possible to deliver weapons to the combat zone in order to carry out attacks on our territory (…), then why should we not have the right to deploy such weapons in regions of the world where attacks are carried out on sensitive objects of those countries that do this in relation to Russia?” Putin said at a meeting with representatives of major international news agencies, including dpa, in St. Petersburg. “This means that the response can be asymmetric. We are thinking about it.”

Putin had previously been asked by a journalist about the delivery of long-range weapons to Ukraine, which was being attacked by Russia – including ATACMS missiles from the USA. Ukraine has been defending itself against the Russian war of aggression for more than two years now. Most recently, several countries – including Germany and the USA – allowed Kiev to attack Russian targets with weapons supplied from the West in order to ward off attacks on the metropolis of Kharkiv in the border region.

Kremlin chief warns against Taurus delivery to Ukraine

Putin also warned against a possible delivery of German Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. “If it is now said that (in Ukraine) any missiles will appear that can carry out attacks on objects on Russian territory, then of course that will destroy Russian-German relations once and for all,” said the 71-year-old. Putin was asked about Moscow's reaction if Berlin delivered the long-range Taurus cruise missiles to Kiev.

“When the first German tanks of German production appeared on Ukrainian soil, it caused a moral and ethical shock in Russia, because relations with the Federal Republic of Germany have always been very good in Russian society,” Putin said.

However, Russian-German relations are already at a low point due to the war of aggression against Ukraine that he ordered. Putin did not say which areas he believes would be further “destroyed” in the event of Taurus deliveries.

In the past, a Taurus delivery has been repeatedly demanded by various parties so that Ukraine can better defend itself against the Russian war of aggression, which has been going on for more than two years. However, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has always spoken out against it. Instead, Germany – like the USA – recently allowed Ukraine to attack Russian targets with weapons supplied from the West in order to ward off attacks on the metropolis of Kharkiv in the border region.

Putin does not expect any change in Russia policy

During the conversation with journalists from more than a dozen countries, Putin also said that he did not expect any fundamental change in Washington's policy towards Moscow after the US presidential election. “The result is not of great importance to us.” Russia will work with the president that the US citizens elect.

In the past, Putin had said that he would prefer an election victory for incumbent Joe Biden because the president is more predictable. At the same time, he said that if US arms deliveries to Ukraine were stopped, the war could be ended within two or three months. He had already told Biden that.

At the same time, Putin criticized the legal proceedings against former President Donald Trump, who wants to run against Biden in the election on November 5. The judiciary in the USA is being used for political struggle, the Kremlin chief claimed. Trump is being confronted with things that happened a long time ago, which suggests political persecution. Many people understand this and therefore support him.

Putin himself is being criticized internationally for deliberately eliminating political opponents in presidential elections in Russia. Russia's judicial system is seen as an arbitrary instrument for ensuring that the Kremlin chief maintains his hold on power.

Putin: Thousands of Ukrainians in Russian captivity

When asked about the number of Russian losses, Putin gave an evasive answer. The number of deaths on the Russian side was significantly lower than that of the Ukrainian armed forces. At a ratio of 1:5, Putin claimed.

With its ongoing mobilization, Ukraine is also showing that it wants to compensate for high losses. The number of prisoners of war on both sides also shows that Russia is in a better position. Ukraine has 1,348 Russians in captivity, while Russia has more than 6,000 prisoners from its neighboring country. This could not be independently verified.

The Ukrainian side, however, emphasizes that significantly more Russian soldiers than its own were killed in the war. Ukraine puts the number of Russian soldiers killed and injured at more than half a million. In February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj stated that the number of soldiers killed in his own ranks was 31,000.

Russia presents economically strong raw material power

Putin is hosting the 27th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. At the annual meeting of entrepreneurs from all over the world, Russia wants to present itself as an economically strong raw materials power despite the Western sanctions in the wake of Moscow's war of aggression against Ukraine.

The media meeting in the striking Lakhta Center skyscraper of gas giant Gazprom is the first international meeting of its kind since the start of Putin's war against Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Putin, who was led through the glass tower for the first time by Gazprom chief Alexei Miller, also stated that Russia would continue to supply gas to Europe – through Ukraine and Turkey.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on state television that the representatives of agencies from unfriendly states had been invited “because they determine the flow of world news” and stand for quality reporting. Peskov said that in states that are not friendly to Russia, pressure is sometimes exerted on free media.

The power apparatus in Moscow, which itself blocks many Western and independent Russian media, repeatedly complains that the EU sanctions also prohibit some state media from broadcasting media content that is close to the Kremlin. The meeting, which was a tradition before the war, was intended as an attempt to convey Putin's point of view directly.