In a rare BBC interview, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Andrei Kelin, said “I don’t think” tactical nuclear weapons will be used in the war with Ukraine – and also chillingly claimed that evidence of Russian war crimes had been “fabricated”.
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Vladimir Putin will only use tactical nuclear weapons if the “existence of the [Russian] State is at risk,” his ambassador to the UK claimed today.
Andrei Kelin used a rare BBC interview to claim “I don’t think” that tactical nuclear weapons will be used in the conflict with Ukraine.
Russia’s President Putin has repeatedly pointed to the country’s nuclear arsenal, and the UK has warned he will be “outgunned and outnumbered” in response.
In February, he ordered Russia’s nuclear weapons to be placed on high alert. He warned last month that if the West intervened in Ukraine, he would launch “lightning quick” retaliation, warning “we have all the tools” and “we will use them if necessary”.
According to the BBC, Russia is said to have about 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons that can be used at close range or launched as grenades on the battlefield.
But Mr Kelin claimed: “In accordance with Russian military doctrine, tactical nuclear weapons are not used at all in such conflicts.
When asked if he could rule them out, he replied: “We have very strict regulations on the issue of using tactical nuclear weapons, mainly when the existence of the state is threatened. It has nothing to do with the current operation.”
When told that Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine with the very claim that the Russian state was under threat, he replied, “We’re going to deal with it with conventional operations, limited conventional operations.”
However, Mr Kelin’s claims will raise eyebrows because he also claimed evidence of Russian war crimes in Bucha was a “fake”.
The United Nations condemned Russia after images from the city near Kyiv showed hundreds dead, some with gunshot wounds and hands tied behind their backs, others burned or in mass graves.
However, Mr Kelin claimed: “It is fake, it is only used to interrupt negotiations.”
Coolly, he added: “Everything is clean and quiet, the city is in normal condition, nothing is happening, there are no dead bodies on the street.”
Diplomatic relations between Mr Kelin and the British authorities are at rock bottom, with the Foreign Secretary saying Russia “repeatedly lied” after meeting him about the outbreak of war.
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Last month Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace said, “I don’t think so [Putin] will use nuclear weapons.
Mr Wallace told LBC radio: “I’m not upset by this. Because we have strong military forces, a nuclear deterrent, and are part of a 30-nation NATO partnership that outguns it, outnumbers it, and potentially has all the capabilities at our disposal.
“I don’t fear him. I think we should be very thankful in this country that we have a nuclear deterrent, I think that’s a really important part of his calculations.”
Ukraine’s UN envoy also said the West would act “very quickly and very harshly” if Vladimir Putin were to use nuclear weapons.
Sergiy Kyslytsya, the country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said last month: “I think the probability of using tactical nuclear weapons is higher than other types of nuclear weapons.
“Some people hope everyone around him isn’t as crazy as he is, and even if he does order tactical nuclear weapons to be used, they may be sabotaged by the chain of command. It’s very difficult to say.
“But if it happens, I understand the West’s retaliation will be very quick and very harsh.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/vladimir-putin-only-use-tactical-27093583 Vladimir Putin will only use tactical nuclear weapons when "Russia's very existence is in danger," the envoy claims