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Russia-NATO conflict is 'one step away' from World War III: Putin

Russia-NATO conflict is 'one step away' from World War III: Putin
Moscow [Russia], March 18 (ANI): Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday warned the Western powers that any direct conflict between Russia and the NATO alliance, led by the US, would mean the world will be "one step away" from a full-scale World War III, TASS reported.

However, he also said that it is "unlikely" that anyone is interested in this.

The Russia-Ukraine war has sparked the most severe strain in Moscow's relations with the West since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Putin has frequently highlighted the dangers of nuclear warfare but asserted that he has never deemed it necessary to employ nuclear weapons in Ukraine, according to TASS.

Speaking to reporters, here, after emerging victorious in the post-Soviet Russian history, Putin said that in the future, a direct conflict between Russia and NATO cannot be ruled out, although no one is interested in this.

"I think that everything is possible in the modern world. But <...> it will be one step away from a full-scale third world war. I think it's unlikely Is anyone interested in this?" TASS quotes Putin as saying.

Before Russia's March 15-17 elections, Ukraine had ramped up its attacks against Russia.

On Kyiv sending a large number of soldiers on the border zone, Putin said that "somewhere up to 5 thousand people" are present here.

The Russian Volunteer Corps (recognised as a terrorist organization in the Russian Federation) and similar groups include 2.5 thousand, who are now, "like meat... thrown into assaults," in the latest attacks these "so so-called volunteers" lost approximately 800 people, according to TASS.

Securing a crushing victory in the Russian Presidential elections, Putin also said that he had agreed to a prisoner swap involving Alexei Navalny before the opposition leader's sudden death in an Arctic prison in February.

Calling Navalny's death a 'sad event', Putin said there were other cases of people in prisons passing away.

In his address at his election headquarters on Sunday, Putin said, "As for Mr. Navalny--yes, he passed away. It is always a sad event. And there were other cases when people in prisons passed away. Didn't this happen in the United States? It did, and not once."

Putin added that he was told of a proposal to exchange Navalny for prisoners held in Western nations days before the Opposition leader died in prison.

On February 16, jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died.

Putin won the presidential elections, receiving 87.17 per cent of the votes based on the result of processing 70 per cent of the electoral protocols, Russia-based TASS reported, citing data from the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation candidate Nikolai Kharitonov secured the second spot with 4.1 per cent of the votes while New People Party candidate Vladislav Davankov stood third with 4.8 per cent votes.

The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) candidate, Leonid Slutsky, received a mere 3.15 per cent of the votes counted. According to preliminary data as of 6 pm (Moscow time) on Sunday, the voter turnout in the presidential elections, which for the first time took place over three days from March 15-17, stood at 74.22 per cent. (ANI)

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