Russian President Vladimir Putin interview

By Thomson Reuters Mar 13, 2024 | 1:30 AM

(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin gave a wide-ranging interview to Russia’s RIA state news agency and Rossiya-1 state television, days before a March 15-17 election that is certain to give him another six years in power.

Below are key excerpts from the interview:


“From a military-technical point of view, we are, of course, ready,” Putin, said in response to a question on whether the country was really ready for a nuclear war.

Putin said the U.S. understood that if it deployed American troops on Russian territory – or to Ukraine – Russia would treat the move as an intervention.

“(In the United States) there are enough specialists in the field of Russian-American relations and in the field of strategic restraint,” Putin said. “Therefore, I don’t think that here everything is rushing to it (nuclear confrontation), but we are ready for this.”

“Weapons exist in order to use them,” Putin said. “We have our own principles.”

However, Putin said Russia had never faced a need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, where the conflict has raged since February 2022.

“Why do we need to use weapons of mass destruction? There has never been such a need.”

If the United States conducted nuclear tests, Russia might do the same, he said.

“It’s not necessary … we still need to think about it, but I don’t rule out that we can do the same.”


“This is an absolutely meaningless step (for Finland and Sweden) from the point of view of ensuring their own national interests,” Putin said, referring to Finland’s entry into NATO.

“We didn’t have troops there (at the Finnish border), now they will be there. There were no systems of destruction there, now they will appear.”


“We do not interfere in any way in any elections,” Putin said.

“And, as I have said many times, we will work with any leader who is trusted by the American people, the American voter.”

“In the last year of his work as president, Mr. Trump, today’s presidential candidate, reproached me for sympathising with Biden …. He asked me in one of the conversations: do you want Sleepy Joe to win?” Putin said.

“And then, to my surprise, they began to persecute him (Trump) because we allegedly supported him as a candidate. Well, it’s some kind of complete nonsense.”


“The main goal, I have no doubt about it, is to – if not to disrupt the presidential elections in Russia – then at least somehow interfere with the normal process of expressing the will of citizens.”


“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has its own nuclear umbrella. They didn’t ask us for anything.”


“We need to talk about this after the elections, after the votes are counted.”

“It seems to me that it is not right time now to talk about it. But in general, the government is working … is working quite satisfactorily.”

(Compiled by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Neil Fullick)