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Did Vladimir Putin Just Casually Threaten Nuclear War?

"I want to remind you..."

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with participants in the youth educational forum at the Seliger youth camp near Lake Seliger, some 450 kilometres (281 miles) northwest of Moscow, in Tver region, Russia, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service) AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service

Those who grew up during the Cold War know what it feels like to constantly worry about nuclear annihilation.

It seems Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to bring back those memories.

“It's best not to mess with us,” Putin said Friday while reminding the world of Russia's sizable nuclear arsenal, as the Los Angeles Times reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with participants in the youth educational forum at the Seliger youth camp near Lake Seliger, some 450 kilometres (281 miles) northwest of Moscow, in Tver region, Russia, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

“Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia," Putin said, speaking to the young people attending a Kremlin-sponsored youth camp.

He added a not-so-veiled threat to the rest of the world: "I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, arrives at a meeting with participants in the youth educational forum at the Seliger youth camp near Lake Seliger, some 450 kilometres (281 miles) northwest of Moscow, in Tver region, Russia, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Friday called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

Putin's remarks come as the crisis in Ukraine — in which Russia is maintaining something of an arms-length distance from the separatists it is not-so-covertly backing — continues to drag on.

Some have called Russian actions regarding Ukraine a "slow-motion invasion," but Putin's remarks Friday seem to signal a fresh aggressiveness.

On Saturday, British station ITV reported that the Lithuanian president bluntly stated, "Russia is in a [of] war state against Ukraine."

Western nations have slapped sanctions on Russia, but with limited effectiveness as Western connections to Russian industry complicate matters, as the Associated Press noted.

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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