Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the risk of nuclear war is rising. He has talked about the use of atomic weapons as "deterrence" and says he may take a more "American" approach.
Putin spoke on Friday with reporters at a regional summit in Kyrgyzstan. He said Russia has no mandate to launch a first strike but says the US enjoys no such limitations.
Putin said, "If we talk about a preemptive disarming attack, maybe we should adopt the practice of our American partners, their ideas of keeping themselves safe. We're thinking about it."
He pointed out that Russia has more advanced nuclear capabilities than the US.
However, Putin also said the "atmosphere" between the two sides may be improving. He discussed the prisoner swap involving US basketball star Brittney Griner and an accused Russian arms dealer. He said further exchanges are "possible."
Still, Russian leaders are trying to keep a tight control on the flow of information. They have targeted a politician who's been critical of the Kremlin. They charged Ilya Yashin with spreading false information about the armed forces. On Friday, he was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in prison.
Yashin laughed off the charges. He said authorities are showing their "weakness" by enforcing silence and "burning out" dissent.
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