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Putin: West's Weapons Supply to Ukraine Won't Be Enough to Outgun Russia

© Sputnik / Aleksey Nikolskyi / Go to the mediabankRussian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2023
The United States and its European allies have sent tens of billions of dollars-worth of military equipment to Kiev to fuel a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Moscow has warned repeatedly about the consequences of these actions for regional and global security.
Western countries won't be able to deliver enough weapons in Ukraine to outgun Russia, President Vladimir Putin has assured.
"Threats exist, of course. When weapons are supplied to a country we are in conflict with, this is always a threat. As far how they can be assessed, of course we know about the plans to supply them," Putin said in an interview with Russian TV on Saturday, responding to a question about whether Moscow considers Western arms deliveries to Kiev a "threat" to national security.
"We see, hear about and know about these delivery plans. You mentioned one million shells, about the delivery of tanks. One million - is it a lot or a little? This is a significant amount. First of all, the leading NATO countries, let's say the United States of America, according to our information, produce about 14,000-15,000 shells per month...Ukraine's Armed Forces, according to our military's estimates, use up to 5,000 shells per day of hostilities," Putin said.
"Russian production, the military-industrial complex, is developing at a very fast pace - at a pace that many did not expect. And over the same period, Russian industry will produce three times more ammunition - even more than three times," Putin said.
Russia knows about NATO's plans to ramp up shell production to 42,000 per month by this year, and to 75,000 per year by 2025, Putin said. "We don't know yet what will happen in 2025, but right now, this year, 14,000-15,000 shells are being produced, despite the fact that Ukraine's military is spending up to 5,000 per day," he reiterated.
"We are concerned about [weapons deliveries] from the perspective that this is an attempt to prolong the conflict," Putin said, noting that "from the point of view of the logic of those who provoked this conflict and are trying to preserve it at any cost, [the supply of weapons] is probably the right decision. But in my opinion, this will only lead to a greater tragedy," he said.
Emphasizing that Russia will not allow for the "excessive militarization" of its economy to match Western arms aid being sent to Kiev, Putin said that to date, Moscow hasn't reduced civilian construction, health care, education and infrastructure development, but the West will be forced to do so.

"The [NATO] arsonists plan to send between 420 and 440 tanks to Ukraine. Here it is the same thing as with ammunition. During this period, we will produce and modernize over 1,600 tanks," Putin said. "The total number of tanks of the Russian Army will be three times greater than the number of tanks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Even more than three times," he added.

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Depleted Uranium

Putin disagreed with the claim being made by Western officials and media that the depleted uranium weapons being sent to Kiev won't result in any health-related issues or other negative consequences.

"This, of course, is not the case. The fact is that they do not belong to the category of weapons of mass destruction. That's true. But the core of the projectile with depleted uranium (different materials can be used, it is used for armor-piercing purposes) still generates so-called radiation dust, and in this sense it of course amounts to a weapon of the most dangerous kind," he said.

Russia has the means to respond, Putin warned. "Without exaggeration, we have hundreds of thousands, literally hundreds of thousands of such rounds. We haven't used them yet."
The Russian president didn't rule out that the UK's announcement of DU munitions deliveries to Kiev were "deliberately" timed to coincide with this week's talks between himself and Chinese President Xi Jinping, including to discuss Beijing's much-talked about 12 point Ukraine peace plan.

"On the same day that President Xi Jinping told me about the positive aspects of the Chinese plan to resolve the Ukrainian [crisis] by peaceful means, we learned about the supply of millions of shells to Ukraine from the Western countries which served as the instigators of the conflict. The next day, right before our meeting with the press, we learned about this story that the UK is planning to send depleted uranium shells," Putin said. "It's as if the West did this on purpose to somehow disrupt our negotiations or influence them somehow."

The UK's announcement of plans to send DU munitions to Kiev this week have sparked fears that wide swathes of Ukraine could become another depleted uranium-contaminated wasteland similar to parts of the former Yugoslavia and Iraq, where cancers and other illnesses have shot up dramatically in the aftermath of US and British DU use in the 1990s and 2000s. Igor Kirillov, the Russian military's head of Radiation, Chemical and Biological Defense Troops warned Friday that the use of such arms would "cause irreparable harm to the health of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the civilian population" alike.
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'Russia and China Complement One Another'

On the broader subject of cooperation with China, Putin said the two countries will strive to "combine our efforts in the most promising high-tech industries," with this issue said to be one of the things he talked about with President Xi.
Commenting on the four-hour long informal negotiations he held with the Chinese leader on Monday, Putin said his colleague proved "a very interesting interlocutor," demonstrating that he was "deeply immersed in all the issues, in world affairs, the economy of his country and in our relations. He knows everything down to the smallest details. And was very well prepared. It was interesting speaking to him. I think we were both satisfied from these conversations." Xi devoted "quite a lot of attention" to outlining and explaining the Chinese settlement plan for Ukraine, according to Putin.
"China and Russia complement one another. I'm talking about the high rates of growth of the Chinese economy and its demand for energy resources. China needs stability of these supplies. Of course, Russia is able to provide such stability," the Russian president said. "Here we are talking about the use of national currencies. If we use yuan when selling energy resources to third countries, this will be a very serious step. Since we don't really need dollars, because imports are closed, there's no point for us to cling to the dollar. We will not rush anywhere in this regard," Putin said.
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Tactical Nukes in Belarus

Putin also commented on matters of strategic security, saying Moscow and Minsk had agreed in principle that, without violating its obligations under the New START Treaty, Russia will be able to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian territory.

"We agreed that - in this sense, [Belarusian President] Alexander Grigorievich [Lukashenko] is right when he says 'listen, we are your closest allies. Why do the Americans place nukes on their allies' territory?' They also engage, by the way, in the training of allies' pilots to use these weapons if necessary. We have agreed that if necessary, we will do the same thing, without violating our obligations - I would like to emphasize - without violating our international obligations on the nonproliferation of nuclear weapons," Putin said.

"The United States has been doing this for decades. They have long placed their tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of allied countries, NATO countries, in Europe. In six states, if memory serves: Germany, Turkiye, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Greece. There are no nukes in Greece right now, but there is a storage facility," Putin said.
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Nord Stream Terrorism

Asked to comment on the media investigations surrounding last year's sabotage attacks against Russia's Nord Stream natural gas pipelines, Putin expressed "full agreement" with the conclusion that the blasts were the handiwork of US intelligence.
"As you know, an American journalist who has become quite famous in the world now, conducted...an investigation and came to the conclusion that this explosion of the gas pipelines was organized by the special services of the United States. I absolutely agree with such conclusions," Putin said, referring to the bombshell investigative work conducted by Seymour Hersh.
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