MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the country’s nuclear arsenals as a deterrent factor in the Ukrainian conflict but demurred when challenged to make a pledge that Russia would not be the first to use them. Asked by a member of the presidential Human Rights Council to commit Russia to forswearing a first strike, Putin responded that such an obligation might prevent Russia from tapping its weapons even if came under a nuclear attack. Putin has repeatedly said Russia is ready to use “all available means” to protect its territory, but on Wednesday he rejected Western criticism of saber-rattling. “We aren’t going to brandish those weapons like a razor running around the world,” he said.
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