The West was wrong to assume Moscow would never use nuclear weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, adding that he was considering deploying conventional missiles into striking distance of the United States and its allies.

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 touched off the worst breakdown in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis — and the Kremlin has repeatedly warned that the risk of a global war is rising.

Putin, speaking face-to-face to senior editors of international news agencies for the first time since the war in Ukraine began, dismissed Western claims that Russia could attack NATO as "stupid," citing the military strength of the alliance.