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Nato will not take on Russia and Putin should accept nuclear war is unwinnable, Stoltenberg says in Poland

NATO will not raise its nuclear weapons alert level despite Russia having done so, secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said today.

Speaking after talks with Polish President Andrzej Duda, the former Norwegian prime minister said it was important the US-led alliance made it clear it would not be drawn into a direct war with Russia.

“Nato is not going to send troops or move planes into Ukrainian airspace,” he confirmed, after reporters asked about the prospect of attempting to impose a no-fly-zone over Ukraine.

Instead it should “ensure that we don’t see a development where a conflict in Ukraine spirals out of control and becomes a full-fledged confrontation between Nato and Russia in Europe.”

He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of reckless and irresponsible threats to use nuclear weapons and said Russia had itself admitted a nuclear war could not be won and should never be fought.

Nato and Russia have almost 6,000 nuclear warheads each and a war could wipe out most human settlements globally.

The Western military alliance is bolstering its forces in eastern Europe, with further French troops now headed to Romania. Troop deployments on Russia’s borders were a grievance Moscow raised several times in the run-up to its invasion of Ukraine last week.

Today Ukraine welcomed the transfer of the rotating UN security council presidency from Russia to the United Arab Emirates, though the latter — like most Middle Eastern countries, as well as India and China — abstained rather than back a US resolution condemning Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated calls for urgent accession to the European Union in a video message to the European parliament today.

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