Ukraine: Putin 'may target other European countries' says Thomas
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Broadcaster Simon Thomas has warned that there is a chance Vladimir Putin “could attack other European countries” if NATO is not willing to “get involved on the ground” in Ukraine. Mr Thomas was speaking out following reports of the possible use of chemical weapons by Russia in the battle for Mariupol.
Mr Thomas told Jeremy Vine: “We have got to be really careful these are, have you heard and you’ve said, unverified reports.
“But what I’m seeing or what I’m reading this was an attack on metalworks in the Mariupol region.
“So quite a few is saying there could be any number of toxins in the air that will be released after that kind of attack so it has got to be verified first.
“But if it is a listen, I think for us the red line has been crossed a number of times already whatever this red line is.”
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He added: “Putin has been very clear about what his red line is as far as he’s concerned if any NATO countries get physically involved on the ground, that as far as he’s concerned, that red line has been crossed, and it could be ramifications in terms of Russia attacking various European countries.
“It just seems that it’s ambiguous exactly what our red line is.
“We keep hearing about the consequences if Putin does this. We saw the weekend, a railway station attacked men, women, and children trying to get out, attacked and killed, 50 of them.
“Now if that’s not a red line, I don’t know what is.”
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He continued: “So I’m not convinced that even if it is proven, that chemical weapons have been used, the red line will mean NATO countries getting physically involved. I’d like to see them get involved.
“Not convinced this will change.”
It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday defended the war in Ukraine as a “noble” mission that would achieve its goals as his troops massed for a new offensive amid allegations of rape, brutality against civilians, and possible use of chemical weapons.
Ukrainian officials urged civilians to flee eastern areas ahead of the anticipated offensive, while the battle for the southern port city of Mariupol was reaching a decisive phase, with Ukrainian marines holed up in the Azovstal industrial district.
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Should the Russians seize Azovstal, they would be in full control of Mariupol, the lynchpin between Russian-held areas to the west and east. The city has already been laid waste by weeks of Russian bombardments and officials say about 20,000 people or more may have been killed.
Putin, speaking in Russia’s Far East at a ceremony marking the 61st anniversary of the Soviet Union putting the first man into space, spoke defiantly despite Western abhorrence at his actions and the imposition of wide-ranging international sanctions on his country.
Asked by space agency workers if the operation in Ukraine would achieve its goals, Putin said: “Absolutely. I don’t have any doubt at all.
“Its goals are absolutely clear and noble,” Putin said. “We didn’t have a choice. It was the right decision.”
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