During an interview with CNN International on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated that Russia would only deploy nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict if it faced a “existential threat” (March 22).
According to the media outlet, Peskov stated, “Domestic security is a concept that we have, and it is open to the public. You can learn about all of the reasons why nuclear weapons should be utilized. If it poses an existential threat to our country, it can be employed in accordance with our strategy.”
When asked if he was “convinced or certain” that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not employ the nuclear option in the Ukraine situation, Peskov made critical remarks.
Western allies are concerned that Russia will deploy WMDs during its invasion of Ukraine. Putin has already hinted at using nuclear weapons against countries he considers to be a threat to Russia.
“No matter who tries to stand in our way or, more importantly, create threats for our country and our people,” Putin said in a televised broadcast in February. “They must know that Russia will respond promptly, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your whole history.”
On February 28, Putin also ordered the Russian Army Deterrence Force to be placed on “combat alert” by the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff.
Russia has acknowledged to use hypersonic missiles in Ukraine. On March 17, Russia’s defense ministry announced that its latest Kinzhal hypersonic missiles were employed for the first time in Ukraine to destroy a weapons storage site in the country’s west.
It’s worth noting that Russia has never admitted to employing high-precision weaponry in warfare before. The Kinzhal hypersonic missiles were used for the first time during the battle in pro-Western Ukraine, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.
When it comes to nuclear weapons, Russia has the world’s greatest stockpile of nuclear weapons and has received little international support for its strike on its former Soviet neighbor.
When asked about Peskov’s remarks and Russia’s nuclear policy, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby described Moscow’s rhetoric on the use of nuclear weapons as “dangerous.”
He told reporters, “It’s not the way a responsible nuclear power should act.”
However, Pentagon officials “haven’t seen anything that would lead us to infer that we need to adjust our strategic deterrent posture,” according to Kirby.
“Every day, we monitor this as best we can,” he added.