Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the risk of nuclear war is increasing, but Russia is "not crazy" and will not use nuclear weapons first.
The BBC reports that the Russian president has insisted that his country will only use weapons of mass destruction in response to an attack.
Speaking to the annual meeting of the Human Rights Council in Russia, he said the war in Ukraine could be a "protracted process". Western officials believe that Putin originally planned for a quick victory in Ukraine.
Regarding the nuclear threat, Putin said: "Such a threat is growing, it would be a mistake to hide it."
However, he assured that Russia will not use the first weapons under any circumstances and will not threaten anyone with its nuclear arsenal.
"We are not crazy, we are aware of what nuclear weapons are. We will not run around the world waving these weapons as if they were razors," he said.
Putin accused the US, among other things, and said that it has nuclear weapons on other territories than its own.
"We do not have nuclear weapons, except for tactical ones, on the territory of another country. But the Americans have... in Turkey and in a number of other European countries," he said.
The Russian leader said that his country's nuclear arsenal "is not a provoking factor for the escalation of conflicts, but a preventive factor."
During the meeting, Putin also discussed the mobilization of 300,000 reservists he ordered in September to bolster troops fighting in Ukraine. Putin said that so far only about 150,000 of them had been deployed to combat zones, while the rest were being trained.
"Under the current conditions, it makes no sense to talk about any additional mobilization efforts," he said. "There is no need for the Ministry of Defense to do this."
Putin then claimed that Poland, which neighbors Ukraine, hopes to seize territory in the west of the country. Poland has welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees in recent months.