After a major supporter of President Vladimir Putin urged for Russia to deploy a “low-yield nuclear bomb” in Ukraine over the weekend, the Kremlin stated on Monday that it prefers a “balanced approach” to the problem of nuclear weapons that is not based on emotion.
When asked about statements by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who also criticized Russia’s military leadership over battlefield failures, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said he had the right to express his views, but that Russia’s military strategy should not be motivated by emotions.
“This is a very emotional moment. The heads of regions have the right to express their point of view,” Peskov said in a call with reporters on Monday.
“But even in difficult moments, emotions should be kept out of any kind of assessment. So we prefer to stick to balanced, objective assessments.”
Peskov said the basis for any use of nuclear weapons was set down in Russia’s nuclear doctrine.
Those guidelines allow for the use of nuclear weapons if they – or another weapon of mass destruction – are used against Russia, or if the Russian state faces an existential threat from conventional weapons.
“There can be no other considerations when it comes to this,” said Peskov.
The Kremlin has made clear that those nuclear protections extend to the four regions of Ukraine that Moscow is in the process of formally annexing.
Last month, Putin warned the West he was “not bluffing” when he said Russia was prepared to use nuclear weapons to protect its territory. On Friday he said the United States had created a “precedent” by dropping nuclear bombs on Japan at the end of World War Two.
Putin named Kadyrov as Chechen president in 2007 to establish authority over an independent area that had waged brutal battles with Moscow for independence throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Kadyrov has supplied Chechen fighters to Russia’s military effort in Ukraine, and his criticism of the military command following Russia’s withdrawal from its bastion of Lyman was some of the most pointed since the conflict began seven months ago.