Russia: Dmitry Palyuga discusses failing faith in Putin
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A top aide to Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the world will be tipped into a new nuclear arms race if Vladimir Putin is allowed to drop the bomb on Ukraine, a news report has claimed. On Wednesday, Russia’s leader warned his country would use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory.
It came as four Ukrainian regions part-occupied by Russian forces are about to stage snap votes on joining Russia.
Mikhailo Podolyak, a key advisor to Zelensky, told The Telegraph it was up to nuclear-armed states like Britain to prevent Russia following through on a threat to strike Ukraine if it attacks newly annexed territory.
Mr Podolyyak told the news agency: “Vladimir Putin has gone to war against a non-nuclear state. He can’t win a conventional war so he threatens to use nuclear weapons.
“If he gets away with it, every non-nuclear state will say: ‘I’m going to get the bomb’.”
Mr Podolyak also vowed that Ukraine will continue its counter-offensive, despite Russia annexing swathes of Ukraine.
Putin’s recent speech was widely seen as a direct threat to use nuclear weapons if Ukraine continued its efforts to retake occupied territory, using the excuse that the four regions where fighting continues are sovereign Russian territory.
Ukraine on Friday said it had already taken back more territory, eating into regions where people are voting to join Russia in the “sham” referendums due to finish over the weekend.
Mr Podolyak told The Telegraph that members of the global nuclear club including China, a Russian ally, have already told Moscow they would not tolerate a nuclear strike in Ukraine.
But said the warnings must be backed by explicit threats of retaliation.
He said: “There is such a risk, and unfortunately it is further provoked by the weak position of the world’s nuclear powers.
“I do not doubt those talks are going on. That the nuclear powers – including the People’s Republic of China – are making those representations.
“The question is the tone of those talks and how clearly they explain the consequences Russia will face if it begins to prepare for a nuclear launch.”
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Former Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev said in a statement on social media on Thursday that the means by which Russia would defend itself included “strategic nuclear weapons”.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused some Security Council members of trying to impose a false narrative on Moscow’s operations in Ukraine, and restating allegations that ethnic Russians had been persecuted by Ukrainian government forces.
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