Russia has reiterated its stated position on the use of nuclear weapons, saying such a move will be taken only if Moscow is faced with an existential threat.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov stressed that any outcome of the current conflict with Ukraine will not be the grounds for using of a nuclear weapon.
“We have a security concept that very clearly states that only when there is a threat to the 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 said in n an interview with PBS.
“Let’s keep these two things separate, I mean the existence of the state and special military operation in Ukraine. They have nothing to do with each other,” he stressed.
In an interview with CNN last week, Peskov said Russia would consider using nuclear weapons if it is confronted with an “existential threat.”
“If it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be,” he was cited as saying, which prompted Western officials to accuse Moscow of having plans to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
The spokesman in his PBS interview on Monday said Russia was convinced that the NATO military alliance was a machine of confrontation, rather than cooperation and security.
He said Moscow does not accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The tribunal has opened an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine. But its prosecutor says Russia has not responded to his request for contributions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last month ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be on high alert.
The country possesses approximately 6000 nuclear warheads, which are believed to be the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, more than the US.
Western countries, led by the US, have slapped tough sanctions on Russia in the wake of its military operation on Ukraine, which has now entered its second month.
The US and its allies have decried Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine as unprovoked, but Moscow says the “special operation” aims to “demilitarize” and “denazify” the country after years of fighting between the Kiev government and separatists in the breakaway Donbas region.
Delegations from Kiev and Moscow have been negotiating for peace and ceasefire in recent weeks, but apparently, no breakthrough has been achieved so far.