Putin says Truss was 'out of it' as he slams her nuclear comments
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Vladimir Putin has accused former prime minister Liz Truss of being “out of it” and initiating the possibility of nuclear war in his most recent attempts to gaslight the West for what he calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine. Referring to a comment made by Ms Truss during the Tory leadership contest, the Russian leader said she “made a folly” and slammed the US for not “distancing themselves” from it. During his speech, in which he embarked on a lengthy diatribe against what he now calls the Satanic West, Putin proffered Russia’s innocence over the threat to use nuclear weapons, claiming his comments were merely a response to Western leaders trying to “blackmail” him.
Putin said: “We have never said anything proactively about possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia.
“We have only hinted in response to those statements that the Western leaders have made. Madame Liz Truss, the ex-prime minister of the United Kingdom, said it directly.
“In her conversation with representatives of the media, she said the UK was a nuclear power and the prime minister has in their mandate the possible use of nuclear weapons, and she said that she was prepared to do that.
“And no one responded in any way. She made a folly, she was a bit out of it, but can you say these things publicly?
“Even if she said it, someone should have corrected it. Washington, for example, could have said they had nothing to do with that.
“They do not know anything about it. There should not be an offence by that but they should have distanced themselves from that.
“And what do we think? We do not think this is a coherent position. We think that we are being blackmailed. Well, what should we do in response, pretend that we have not heard anything?”
The comment to which Putin was referring to was not explicitly mentioned by the Russian leader, but it is likely to be her response to a question during the Tory leadership contest in the summer about her willingness to push the “red button”.
Asked by Times Radio’s John Piennar on August 23 during a hustings in Birmingham how she felt about the prospect of launching a nuclear bomb and causing “global annhiliation”, the then foreign secretary said she believed it was an “important duty” to carry out.
She said: “I think it is an important duty of the prime minister and I am ready to do that.”
A month later, the then prime minister Liz Truss addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York and accused the Russian leader of “sabre-rattling threats” to use nuclear warheads.
Commenting on Putin’s speech announcing the mobilisation of 300,000 reservists, she said: “This morning we have seen Putin trying to justify his catastrophic failures. He is doubling down by sending even more reservists to a terrible fate.
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“He is desperately trying to claim the mantle of democracy for a regime without human rights or freedoms. And he is making yet more bogus claims and sabre-rattling threats. This will not work.”
As Putin selectively summarised the war of words exchanged between himself and Ms Truss on Thursday, China announced it was willing to deepen its relationship with Russia after months of relative silence.
As Putin spoke at length about the detaining influence of the West, China said any attempt to block the two countries moving forward would “never succeed”.
Putin responded by saying Russia’s relations with China were at an “unprecedented level”, calling China’s President Xi Jinping a “close friend”.
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