If Russia is ever attacked with nuclear weapons, the Russian victims will "go to heaven" as "martyrs," says Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made the comments Thursday during the annual Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, the AFP reports. As for the aggressors in an attack on Russia: "They will simply die because they won't even have time to repent" before Russia's "inevitable" retaliation. But, Putin declared, Russia will never be the first to use nukes, saying, "We have no concept of preemptive strike" (though RT explains why there may be a loophole to that). Putin spoke on a wide range of topics from US domestic politics to Russian involvement in Syria. Read on for more tidbits:
- President Trump: Calling his July sit-down with Trump a "normal, professional dialogue," Putin said he is hopeful that the US president will improve relations between the two countries, per the AP, adding that Moscow is ready "at any moment" to work toward that.
- Anti-Russian rumblings in the US: Putin chalked up anti-Russian sentiment in Washington and recent sanctions to domestic politics in the US, according to Newsweek, saying, "Let's look at the calendar; they're having midterm elections and presidential elections soon."
- Russian military might: "We have run ahead of the competition," said Putin, referring to "precision hypersonic weapons," per the AP. Russia has deployed the Kinzhal hypersonic missile and has another one, the Avangard, on deck.
- Russian aid to the Assad regime in Syria: "We have liberated almost 95% of the Syrian Republic's territory," Putin said. "The second thing is that we have secured the statehood there; we have prevented the state from collapsing."
- The Russian people: Pravda quotes Putin as saying, "We are not afraid of anything at all … with such a territory, with people ready to give their lives for the fatherland, nobody can do anything about it."
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