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West gets Putin’s harsh warning against sending troops to Ukraine, says expert

Speaking about the Russian leader’s words about a nuclear conflict threat, Fyodor Lukyanov stressed that there was no talk about the use of nuclear weapons

MOSCOW, February 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western leaders in his address to the Federal Assembly that Russia would use all of its defense capabilities if the West directly engaged in the Ukraine conflict, Fyodor Lukyanov, research director at the Development and Support Foundation of the Valdai International Discussion Club said on Thursday.

Speaking about the consequences of the West’s direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict, the Russian leader also meant recent remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron about the possibility of sending NATO troops to Ukraine, the expert pointed out.

In his address to both houses of Russia’s parliament, Putin let it know that Russia would view such actions as large-scale aggression, Lukyanov said.

"Correspondingly, in this case, any countermeasures can be used. Macron, thus received a reply: yes, we will react by any methods, just don’t have any illusions," the expert said.

"Putin has warned the West that Russia has all available defense capabilities that can be employed, if the West switches to its direct involvement [in the Ukraine conflict]," he added.

Speaking about the Russian leader’s words about a nuclear conflict threat, the expert stressed that there was no talk about the use of nuclear weapons.

"He said that the escalation was fraught with its transition to the highest phase. Russia also has other methods of striking targets, aside from nuclear weapons. He also said that new armaments were used successfully in the Ukraine operation," Lukyanov explained.

A game of signals is underway: the West looks at how Russia reacts to particular statements, the expert said.

"It is hard to say whether this signal will be heard in the West. In general, this is not the first signal and Putin spoke about that from the very beginning and gradually increased the focus on this fact but, as we see, all this goes on and no significant deterrence effect is felt," Lukyanov pointed out.

French President Macron said on February 26 that a Paris meeting of representatives of about 20 Western countries on further support for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia also discussed the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine. He said that the participants in the meeting had reached no consensus on this issue but this scenario could not be ruled out in the future. After the conference, representatives of most of the participating countries said that they had no plans of sending troops to Ukraine and, all the more so, disfavored their participation in combat operations against Russia.