Zelensky Says World Should Be Worried About Russia Using Nuclear Weapons
In an interview with CNN on Friday (April 15), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the world should be worried about the prospect of Russia using nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine.
“Not only me—all of the world, all of the countries have to be worried,” Zelensky said when asked if he was concerned Russia could use a tactical nuclear weapon. “Because it can be not real information, but it can be truth,” he added.
Zelensky’s comments came after CIA Director William Burns said the US “cannot take lightly” the threat of Russia using tactical or low-yield nuclear weapons in Ukraine. But Burns stressed that the US has seen no “practical evidence” that indicates Russia is planning a nuclear strike.
For their part, Russian officials have said they would only use nuclear weapons if Russia’s existence was threatened. “Any outcome of the operation, of course, is not a reason for usage of a nuclear weapon,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at the end of March.
“We have a security concept that very clearly states that only when there is a threat for existence of the state, in our country, we can use and we will actually use nuclear weapons to eliminate the threat for the existence of our country,” Peskov added.
Russia Will Not Use Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine, Lavrov Says
Russia will use only conventional weapons in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in response to a question about the possible use of nuclear arms in the war.
The comments, in an interview Tuesday (April 19) to India Today television, are among the most categorical from a senior Russian official on the issue, although Lavrov isn’t directly responsible for military decision-making.
Western intelligence officials have warned that the Kremlin might turn to tactical or other limited nuclear weapons from its arsenal if its invasion of Ukraine continues to struggle.
In the interview, Lavrov said Russia’s military operation has entered a new phase and will continue. Ukraine said the Kremlin started a new offensive in the Donbas region overnight.
Threat of Russia Using Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine is Something the U.S. Can’t Take Lightly, CIA Chief Warns
CIA Director William Burns said the threat of Russia potentially using nuclear weapons in Ukraine could not be taken lightly, but admits the agency had not seen much evidence reinforcing that concern.
During a speech on Thursday (April 14), Burns spoke of the “potential desperation” and setbacks faced by Putin in Ukraine.
“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” Burns said.
“We’re obviously very concerned. I know President Biden is deeply concerned about avoiding a third world war, about avoiding a threshold in which, you know, nuclear conflict becomes possible,” Burns added.
Zelensky Says Ukraine Won’t Give Up Territory in East to End War, Warns World to “Prepare” for Putin to Unleash Nuclear Attack
Russia has of late made its intentions clear that its focus of combat operations will remain on liberating the Donbas region in the east. This as the crucial southeast port city of Mariupol reportedly still has a final holdout group of Ukrainian troops fighting as Russia overwhelms the city.
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Russia called on the last Ukrainian troops fighting in Mariupol to lay down arms on Sunday and observe an hourslong cease-fire that it said would allow them to leave the battlefield unscathed, as it closed in on capturing the strategic port city after weeks of heavy bombardment.”
In a new weekend interview published Sunday (April 17), Zelensky told CNN that his military will not give up an inch of territory in the east, saying the fight for the Donbas could determine the course of the war. He told Jake Tapper that a strong defense of Donbas would likely mean the Russians would be thwarted in attempting to take Kiev again.
“This is why it is very important for us to not allow them, to stand our ground, because this battle … it can influence the course of the whole war,” Zelensky said.
“Because I don’t trust the Russian military and Russian leadership,” he added. “That is why we understand that the fact that we fought them off and they left, and they were running away from Kyiv—from the north, from Chernihiv and from that direction—it doesn’t mean if they are able to capture Donbas, they won’t come further towards Kyiv.”
This marks somewhat of a reversal from words he issued (https://nypost.com/2022/03/27/zelensky-willing-to-adopt-neutral-status-to-end-the-war/) at the end of March:
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday he is willing to compromise with Russia on the Donbass region—because to try to force Russian forces completely from Ukraine would lead to World War III, according to Reuters.”
Zelensky also over the weekend said that the world should be prepared for Russia to use nuclear weapons. “We shouldn’t wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons,” he said over the weekend. “We must prepare for that.”
Zelensky Bashes World Leaders, Accuses Them of Empty Rhetoric Against Genocide: “We Don’t Believe” Their Words
Zelensky accused the international community of pushing meaningless rhetoric against genocide while Russia has been allowed to continue invading his country.
CNN released a full interview with Zelensky on Sunday (April 17), wherein the Ukrainian leader took questions on the sinking of the Moskva, the war’s progression, and the possibility of Russia using a nuclear weapon. Jake Tapper asked him what he thinks now about the world’s promises to never let genocide happen ever again.
“You lost ancestors in the Holocaust,” Tapper said. “Every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, politicians put out statements that say ‘Never Again, Never Again.’ Those statements must seem really hollow right now to you. When the world says ‘never again,’ do they ever mean it?”
Zelensky answered the question, mostly in English:
“I don’t believe the world, after we’ve seen what’s going on in Ukraine. I don’t believe to this feeling that we should believe, some countries or some leaders. We don’t believe the words. After escalation of Russia, we don’t believe our neighbors. We don’t believe all of this. Even I don’t believe documents because we also had the Budapest Memorandum. I think you know all the details of this. For me, that is just a piece of paper, and costs nothing, and that’s it. So we just believe pragmatic things. If you are our friends or partners, give us weapons, give us hands, support us, give us money and stop Russia, kick Russia. You can do it if you’re a friend.”
Zelensky added that actions will speak louder than words, saying through a translator, “everybody is talking about this, and yet, as you can see, not everyone has got the guts.”