14:28 GMT28 January 2020
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    While Vladimir Putin said that the nuclear forces would have been put on alert only to protect Russian citizens residing in Crimea, Western media have been considering the implications of the statement an aggression.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Leading western newspaper headlines have focused on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments about Russia’s readiness to place its nuclear forces on alert in the event an “unfavorable scenario” had unfolded in Crimea, despite the United States and the United Kingdom making similar statements before.

    "We were ready to do it [place nuclear forces on alert]. I talked with colleagues and told them that this [Crimea] is our historic territory, Russian people live there, they are in danger and we cannot leave them,” Putin said in the “Crimea. Way Back Home” documentary released Sunday by Rossiya-1 TV.

    While Putin said that the nuclear forces would have been put on alert only to protect Russian citizens residing in Crimea, Western media have been considering the implications of the statement an aggression. However, ownership of nuclear weapons, and the implied threat of their potential, not actual use, acts as a defensive deterrent.

    Leading British newspapers, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Mirror, and the Daily Mail, have paid much attention to Putin’s claims on Russia’s readiness to use nuclear force if there had been shown to be a threat to the Russian-speaking residents of Crimea.

    The New York Times and The Washington post also focused on this particular statement by the Russian president.

    “After the revolution in Ukraine last year, President Vladimir V. Putin sent military forces to secure Crimea and even weighed putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert because of his concerns about both anarchy and Western intervention,” The New York Times said.

    However, the United States made similar claims in October 2014 when it said it was ready to use nuclear weapons if North Korean forces crossed the border into South Korea, an ally of Washington. Several years earlier, the UK’s then-defense secretary Geoff Hoon said that the United Kingdom was ready to use nuclear weapons against Iraq if they ever used weapons of mass destruction against British troops.

    Crimea became a Russian region following a referendum held March 16, 2014, in which over 96 percent of Crimean voters backed a move to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Crimea's reunification with Russia was triggered by the February 2014 coup in Ukraine.


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