Moscow says its nuclear doctrine is very clear and the current conflict in Ukraine does not meet any of its criteria.
The allegations about Russia threatening to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine are unavoidable and baseless, said Andrey Belousov, head of Moscow's delegation to the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty NPT review conference.
This is impossible because Russian doctrinal guidelines limit emergency situations in which the use of nuclear weapons is hypothetically possible, such as in response to aggression involving weapons of mass destruction, or in response to aggression involving conventional weapons, where the existence of the state is threatened, Belousov explained.
He stated that none of these hypothetical scenarios is relevant to the situation in Ukraine.
The Russian diplomat also rejected insinuations about Moscow placing its nuclear deterrent on high alert, stating that the current state of increased vigilance, with extra personnel on duty at strategic command posts, was completely different from the actual state of high alert of strategic nuclear forces. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated in a letter to participants of the NPT conference that there would be no winners in a war, and it must never be allowed to happen. Belousov explained that Moscow's previous warnings about a serious threat of nuclear war were directed at NATO, as a way to deter Western countries from direct aggression against Russia in the context of the Ukrainian crisis, as they dangerously balance on the edge of a direct armed confrontation with Russia. US President Joe Biden said this week that Washington is ready to negotiate a new arms control framework with Moscow but Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the US still hasn't come up with any proposals regarding an agreement that could replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The landmark New START is the only major arms control agreement between Moscow and Washington still in force. The deal was on the brink of expiration in early 2021, but it was salvaged shortly after Biden's inauguration when Washington finally agreed to Moscow's demands to prolong the deal without any preconditions. It is set to expire in 2026.