Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Vladimir Putin was no longer bluffing with his threats to use nuclear weapons, citing several “blackmail” attempts by Russia over Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.
Look, maybe yesterday was a bluff. Now it could become a reality,” Ukraine’s wartime president said in an interview with CBS news channel.
Referring to the Russian attacks near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar and others at a facility in the south, Mr Zelensky said: “These are the first steps of his nuclear blackmail. I don’t think he’s bluffing. I think the world is deterring and containing this threat. We have to keep putting pressure on him and not allowing him to continue.”
Washington has warned of “catastrophic consequences” should the Kremlin station nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
“If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond decisively.” US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on NBC’s Meet the Press news program.
Meanwhile, four Russian-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine were voting on whether to join the Russian Federation, while a “sham” referendum was condemned around the world.
Mr Zelensky spoke after the US warned of “catastrophic consequences” if Moscow uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, after Russia’s foreign minister said regions holding widely criticized referendums would be given full protection if annexed by Moscow.
Votes aimed at annexing territories that Russia has seized by force took place in four eastern Ukrainian regions on the third day. The Russian parliament could formalize the annexation within days.
By incorporating the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts into Russia, Moscow could present efforts to recapture them as attacks on Russia itself, a warning to Kyiv and its Western allies.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the United States would respond to any Russian use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine, and he had outlined to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” they faced.
“If Russia crosses that line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia,” Sullivan told NBC’s Meet the Press. “The United States will respond decisively.”
The latest US warning follows a thinly veiled nuclear threat Wednesday from President Vladimir Putin, who said Russia would use all weapons to defend its territory.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the point more directly at a press conference Saturday after a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York, in which he repeated Moscow’s false claims to justify the invasion that the elected government in Kyiv was illegitimately installed and filled with Neo -Nazis.
Asked whether Russia has any grounds for using nuclear weapons to defend annexed regions, Lavrov said that Russian territory, including territory “further enshrined” in the Russian constitution in the future, is under the “full protection of the state “ would stand.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss said Britain and its allies should ignore threats from Putin, who made what she called a strategic mistake by not expecting the strength of the West’s response.
“We shouldn’t listen to his saber-rattling and bogus threats,” Truss said in an interview with CNN that aired Sunday.
“Instead, we must continue to impose sanctions on Russia and continue to support the Ukrainians.”
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/vladimir-putin-no-longer-bluffing-about-nuclear-threats-zelensky-warns-42016514.html Vladimir Putin is no longer bluffing about nuclear threats, Zelenskyy warns