1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Ukraine updates: Russia ready for nuclear war, Putin says

Published March 13, 2024last updated March 13, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event of a threat to the state. Meanwhile, a drone reportedly hit a national security building in Russia. DW has the latest.

 A Russian A-50 plane and Su-27 fighter jets fly over St. Basil's cathedral
Putin has repeatedly talked about his readiness to use nuclear weapons since invading Ukraine Image: ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Russia's president reiterated that his country will respond if there is a threat to its statehood, sovereignty or independence.

The blunt warning to the West comes ahead of a presidential vote this week that Putin is expected to win.

Putin praised US President Joe Biden as a veteran politician who fully understands the possible dangers of escalation.

In other related news, the leaders of France and Poland will meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Friday for talks on Ukraine.

Here's a look at the latest developments in Russia's war in Ukraine for Wednesday, March 13:

Skip next section Germany to host French, Polish leaders for talks on Ukraine
March 13, 2024

Germany to host French, Polish leaders for talks on Ukraine

On Friday, the leaders of France, Germany and Poland will hold talks on Ukraine in Berlin aimed at helping organize further aid for Kyiv.

"In my opinion, these three capitals have the task and the power to mobilize all of Europe" to provide Ukraine with fresh aid, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told state broadcaster TVP late Tuesday from Washington DC. 

Friday's talks come as European countries rally support for Ukraine, which continues to need vast amounts of weapons and ammunition in its ongoing resistance of Russia's invasion, which has entered its third year. 

"We must do everything we can to organize as much support as possible for Ukraine," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a press conference alongside Thai premier Srettha Thavisin Wednesday in Berlin.

Germany is Ukraine's largest European provider of military aid, but Chancellor Scholz is holding back on providing long-range Taurus missiles to Ukraine, which could reach far into Russian territory. 

Ahead of Friday's trilateral sit-down, which will include Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Chancellor Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron will have a bilateral meeting, said Scholz's spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. The missile issue has been a source of tension between Scholz and Macron, who has urged allies not to be "cowards" in supporting Ukraine.

Scholz again rules out sending Taurus missiles

Skip next section Moscow warns NATO members that war could spin out of control
March 13, 2024

Moscow warns NATO members that war could spin out of control

Russia has warned that the war in Ukraine could expand geographically and spin out of control because of the "provocative actions" of individual NATO nations.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow felt the West was walking "on the edge of the abyss" and pushing the world closer to the chasm with its actions over Ukraine, in response to a question from the Reuters news agency.

"This conflict is already underway, and has been going on for more than one year," Zakharova said. "It’s not so much about the risks of this confrontation, but about the risks of an open, hot phase."

Zakharova also said the West should abandon the idea of strategically defeating Russia.

Skip next section Kyiv's volunteers warn border region Russians to leave
March 13, 2024

Kyiv's volunteers warn border region Russians to leave

Volunteer Russian forces fighting alongside Ukrainians against the Kremlin have urged civilians to flee border areas such as Belgorod and Kursk as they plan large-scale attacks on military targets there. 

Groups of volunteer fighters, made up of Russians who oppose President Vladimir Putin, said this week they had crossed from Ukraine into Russia and captured a village in the Kursk region.

"We are forced to inflict shelling on military positions that are stationed in the cities of Belgorod and Kursk," three groups — the Freedom of Russia Legion, the Russian Volunteer Corps, and Sibir — said in a joint statement.

"We call on the local authorities to preserve human lives and begin evacuating the cities of Kursk and Belgorod," they added.

Moscow denies that the fighters had gained territory and says it has repelled all incursions.
The Ukraine-based militias have claimed to have been behind previous incursions into Russian territory.

Skip next section Moscow sends troops to border with Finland
March 13, 2024

Moscow sends troops to border with Finland

Russian President Vladimir Putin said additional troops and weapons systems would be stationed on the country's northwestern border with new NATO member Finland. 

The announcement came as the Russian leader also warned that Moscow is technically ready for nuclear war.

In an interview on Russian state television, Putin said Finland's joining NATO was an "absolutely senseless step" that did not align with its national interests. 

Both Finland and Sweden applied for membership in the military alliance after Russia staged its all-out invasion of Ukraine more than two years ago. Both countries are now members.

What does NATO gain from Sweden and Sweden gain from NATO?

Skip next section Putin says Russia ready, not willing, for nuclear war
March 13, 2024

Putin says Russia ready, not willing, for nuclear war

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons if there is a threat to his country's statehood, sovereignty or independence. 

In an interview with Russian state television released early Wednesday, Putin delivered a blunt warning to the West: "The nations that say they have no red lines regarding Russia should realize that Russia won't have any red lines regarding them either."

He added that "no one should have any doubts that a direct attack on our country will lead to defeat and horrible consequences for any potential aggressor."

Putin said Russia's nuclear triad — nuclear weapons delivered by land, sea and air — was "much more" advanced than those in the West.

"Our triad, the nuclear triad, it is more modern than any other triad," he said. "Only we and the Americans actually have such triads. And we have advanced much more here," 

The Russian leader has repeatedly spoken about his readiness to use nuclear weapons since launching the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.  

Putin praised US President Joe Biden as someone who fully understands the possible dangers of nuclear escalation, and said he doesn't think that the world is heading to a nuclear war.

In his state-of-the-nation address last month, Putin warned the West that deepening its involvement in the fighting in Ukraine would risk a nuclear war.

Putin warns of nuclear war if NATO troops sent to Ukraine

Skip next section Weimar Triangle leaders to meet over Ukraine
March 13, 2024

Weimar Triangle leaders to meet over Ukraine

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said France, Germany and Poland are set to hold emergency talks on Ukraine in Berlin on Friday. 

The summit of the Weimar Triangle, a format of the three countries that was initially created in 1991, was described as an "emergency and unplanned."

Tusk made his announcement after discussions about Ukraine in Washington. 

Poland is among Ukraine's strongest allies and has repeatedly urged its Western partners to increase military aid spending for Kyiv to fend off the Russian invasions.

Skip next section Ukraine strike hits Russian security building
March 13, 2024

Ukraine strike hits Russian security building

Russia's TASS news agency says a Ukrainian drone hit a building used by the FSB state security service in the city of Belgorod. 

The news comes as a wave of drone strikes targeted Russia's oil refineries and border regions for the second day in a row on Wednesday. 

One of the drones sparked a fire and injured several people in the Ryazan region, officials said.

While dozens of drones were launched overnight, regional governors said the vast majority were shot down causing some damage but no victims. 

Russia said the drones were aimed at the Belgorod, Bryansk, Kursk, and Voronezh regions.

rc/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)