Putin warns of ‘global catastrophe’ if Nato troops clash with Russian forces

Russian president Vladimir Putin has warned that any direct clash of Nato troops with Russia could lead to a “global catastrophe“.

Speaking at a news conference in the Kazakh capital Astana on Friday, Putin also claimed he had no regrets about invading Ukraine and that Russia’s partial mobilisation of troops should be completed within two weeks.

He said a total of 222,000 reservists would be called-up, down from the 300,000 figure initially quoted by the defence ministry when the order was announced last month.

In total, 33,000 of them are already in military units and 16,000 are involved in combat, Mr Putin said.

Asked about the war expanding to become a direct clash between Russian and Nato troops, Putin said: “The introduction of troops into a direct confrontation with the Russian army is a very dangerous step that could lead to a global catastrophe.

He added: “I hope that those who speak of this have enough sense not to take such steps.”

There have been growing fears that the war could escalate and claims it could even become a nuclear conflict.

Putin also claimed that there was “no need” for further “massive strikes” on Ukraine, due to the fact that the majority of so-called designated targets had been hit.

This comes following Russia’s Monday attacks on civilian areas of Ukraine, including parts of the capital Kyiv, where a missile landed in a playground.

The attacks were apparently in retaliation by Russia for a truck bomb explosion which took place on a prized bridge linking Russia to Crimea.

The Kerch Bridge explosion followed Ukraine’s recapturing of occupied areas in the country’s east and south in a series of counteroffensives that have restored confidence and embarrassed Russia’s military.

The Kremlin is facing increased criticism from within Russia over its handling of the war with Ukraine.

Russian media reports have described attempts to round up men without the relevant experience, including those ineligible for service for medical reasons, and force them into signing up.

In the wake of the president’s mobilisation order, tens of thousands of men left Russia, fleeing across the borders to neighbouring countries.

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