Russia claims that Zelenskyy instigated a nuclear world war in his recent speech

Russian officials on Thursday claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is instigating a nuclear world war after he called on NATO to put pre-emptive pressure on Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats.

In a video address to the Lowy Institute, a non-partisan international think tank in Australia, Zelenskyy called on NATO to launch “pre-emptive strikes, pre-emptive action” so that Russia could understand the consequences if it decides to use nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine.

“I am once again addressing the international community as I did prior to February 24th. Pre-emptive strikes so they know what to expect if they use them [a nuclear weapon]’ Zelenskyy said in the video. “Rethink applying pressure — that’s what NATO should be doing, and reconsider the order in which it is applied.”

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press secretary, said after the speech that Zelenskyy’s comments were a “call to start a world war”.

“Zelenskyj’s statements are nothing more than a call to start a world war with unpredictable monstrous consequences,” Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused “the West” of starting a nuclear war with “Zelensky’s hands,” Russian state media TASS reported.

Zelenskyi’s press secretary, Serhii Nykyforov, later clarified that the Ukrainian president had only proposed non-nuclear steps such as sanctions, assuring that only Russia would resort to “blackmailing the world” and threatening nuclear weapons.

Zelenskyy’s comments come more than two weeks after Putin said he would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons in war to protect Russian territory. At the same time, the Russian President also announced a partial mobilization and called on at least 300,000 combat-experienced reservists to go to war against Ukraine.

Currently, Ukrainian forces are pushing ahead and making gains in their counter-offensives in the south and east. Since October, the Ukrainian army has retaken over 150 square miles of land in Kherson Oblast, USA Today reported, citing Ukrainian spokeswoman Natalia Humeniuk.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian troops also successfully invaded the East Luhansk region, which is among areas Russia forcibly annexed in violation of international law.

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