Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference following the Eurasian Economic Union summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, December 9, 2022

Vladimir Putin pledged Friday that any country who dares attack Russia using nuclear weapons would be exterminated.

According to the Russian president, Russia did not have the mandate to launch a first nuclear strike. However, Russia’s advanced hypersonic weapons would allow it to respond forcefully if it was ever attacked.

His comments were made during a press conference held this afternoon after a meeting of regional leaders in Bishkek (Kyrgyz capital). 

Putin also said to reporters that a deal was needed to end the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. He claimed the Kremlin was open and willing to reach an agreement but stated that trust with Western powers and Ukrainian forces was ‘almost zero. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the news conference that follows the summit of Eurasian Economic Union in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), December 9, 2022 

Putin Said Russia Had No Mandate To Launch A Preventative First Strike, But That His Hypersonic Weapons Would Ensure Moscow Could Respond With Great Force Should It Come Under Attack (Russian Test Launch Of Sarmat Icbm)

Putin stated that Russia was not authorized to launch a preventative strike. However, he said that his hypersonic weaponry would allow Moscow to respond quickly to any attack. (Russian test-launch of Sarmat ICBM).

Today’s press conference in Bishkek saw Putin speak with reporters about a variety of topics related to the war in Ukraine. 

After meeting with leaders from the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia), Putin stated that Russia wanted to find a peaceful solution for Ukraine. However, he was trampled by the collapse of the Minsk agreements.

According to the Kremlin chief: Germany and France, which brokered ceasefire arrangements in Minsk in Belarus between Ukraine’s separatists in eastern Ukraine in 2014/2015, had betrayed Russia. Now they are arming Ukraine with weapons.

In an interview published Wednesday by Germany’s Zeit magazine, Angela Merkel, the former German chancellor, said that the Minsk Agreements were only meant to ‘give Ukraine some time’ to strengthen its defenses against Russian aggression. These are comments that Putin claimed have ‘disappointed him’. 

In This File Photo Taken On August 20, 2021 Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) And Then German Chancellor Angela Merkel Enter The Hall For A Joint News Conference Following Their Talks At The Kremlin In Moscow

This file photo, taken August 20, 2021, shows Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), as well as Angela Merkel (R), entering the hall for a joint press conference following their talks in Moscow at the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) And Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (L) Shake Hands During Their Meeting On The Sidelines Of The Eurasian Economic Union'S (Eaeu) Summit In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 09 December 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, (L) meet during their meeting at the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), summit in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), 09/12/2022

Putin spoke about yesterday’s high-profile prisoner exchange between Washington and Moscow. He said that more U.S.-Russian prisoner exchangings are possible after yesterday’s event at the United Arab Emirates. 

Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was widely known as the Merchant of Death. On Thursday, Brittney Griner, WNBA star and two time Olympian, was traded for Bout.

Putin answered that it was possible to swap other prisoners, noting that compromises were reached to make Thursday’s Griner for Bout exchange legal.

He added, “We aren’t refusing to keep this work going in the future,”

Despite having negotiated the exchange for Griner, the most prominent American in prison abroad, the U.S. failed the to secure freedom for Paul Whelan (a former marine and corporate security exec) who has been held in Russia since December 2018. 

Many U.S. politicians and commentators were angered by the decision to trade a basketballer in exchange for a well-known arms dealer and intelligence asset.   

Pictured: Brittney Griner Is Seen On A Plane On Her Way Back To The U.s.

Pictured: Brittney Griner on her return flight to the U.S.

Pictured: 'Merchant Of Death' Viktor Bout Is Seen Onboard A Plane Heading Back To Russia

Pictured: Viktor Bout (‘Merchant of Death) is seen onboard a plane headed back to Russia

Arms Smuggler Viktor Bout From Russia Is Escorted By A Member Of The Special Police Unit As He Arrives At A Criminal Court In Bangkok October 4, 2010

As Viktor Bout, an arms smuggler from Russia, arrives at a Bangkok criminal court on October 4, 2010, he is escorted to Bangkok by a member the special police unit

Later, the Russian president told media that he was happy for courts to sentence one of his political critics. However, he denied knowing anything about the detainee.

Today, a Moscow court sentenced Ilya Yashin, an opposition politician, to eight and a quarter years imprisonment for spreading false information about Russia’s offensive against Ukraine. This is the most prominent conviction under the new legislation criminalising criticism of the attack.

The 39-year-old is an ally of Alexei Navalny, a jailed opposition leader, and Boris Nemtsov. He was a former opponent to Putin and was assassinated by him in 2015.

Yashin was applauded by his supporters in the courtroom. He smiled and waved to his family as the sentence was read.

Judge Oksana Guryunova found Yashin guilty of a crime: disseminating ‘knowingly fals information about Russia’s Armed Forces’. He sentenced Yashin to eight years and six month imprisonment in a penal colony.

In April, he described the alleged murders of civilians in Bucha, referring specifically to a village near Kyiv, where civilians were murdered after Russian forces had pulled back.

Putin, however, feigned ignorance when asked about Yashin’s conviction on Friday and asked: “And who is he?” Is he a blogger?

“It is not advisable to question the court’s decision. 

Russian Opposition Leader, Former Moscow'S Municipal Deputy Ilya Yashin (C) Stands Inside A Defendant'S Cage Prior To A Verdict Hearing At The Meshchansky District Court In Moscow, Russia, 09 December 2022

Russian opposition leader, Ilya Yashin, ex-Moscow’s municipal deputy (C), stands inside a cage before a verdict hearing at Meshchansky District Court in Moscow, Russia on 09/12/2022

Yashin Showed A Peace Sign From His Defendant'S Cage In Court As He Was Sentenced To Eight-And-A-Half Years In Prison

Yashin made a peace sign by removing his defendant’s box from court when he was sentenced.