Russia rejects nuclear threat against Kiev

Russia rejects nuclear threat against Kiev

Moscow says its nuclear doctrine is very clear and the conflict in Ukraine does not meet any of its criteria.

The deputy head of Russia's delegation to the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty NPT review conference, Andrey Belousov, said on Friday that Russia is threatening to use nuclear weapons against Kiev and that they are untenable and baseless.

This is impossible since Russian doctrinal guidelines strictly limit emergency situations in which the use of nuclear weapons is hypothetically possible, namely 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.

A Russian diplomat said that the current state of increased vigilance, with extra personnel on duty at strategic command posts, is completely different from an actual state of high alert of strategic nuclear forces and that it rejects insinuations about Moscow placing its nuclear deterrent on high alert. Belousov argued that any warnings about a serious risk of nuclear war expressed by Russian officials in the context of the Ukraine crisis were directed at NATO, as a way to deter Western countries from direct aggression, as they have dangerously balanced on the edge of a direct armed confrontation with Russia. Belousov's response came after the Ukrainian delegation to the NPT conference accused Moscow of nuclear terrorism and openly threatened the world with its ability to use nuclear weapons, while citing rhetoric by Russian media, think tanks and experts. In his address on Monday, Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia of reckless nuclear saber-rattling to those who support Ukraine's self-defense. Blinken claimed that the US is a much more responsible nuclear-armed state and would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies and partners. In a letter to participants of the NPT conference on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that there would be no winners in a war, and that it must never be allowed to happen.

US President Joe Biden stated this week that Washington is ready to negotiate a new arms control framework with Moscow. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the US has yet to come up with any proposals regarding an agreement that could potentially 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 saved shortly after Biden's inauguration when Washington finally agreed to Moscow's demands to prolong the deal without any preconditions. It is currently set to expire in 2026.