Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the possibility of a nuclear attack is not off the table during a Tuesday interview with CNN.
Host Christiane Amanpour repeatedly pressed Peskov if Putin would use the “nuclear option” against Ukraine, to which Peskov replied that Russia would consider the use of nuclear weapons if posed with an “existential threat.”
“We have a concept of domestic security, and it’s public, you can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” Peskov said. “So if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept. There are no other reasons that are mentioned in that text.”
President Putin has raised the threat of using nuclear weapons – and his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov refused to rule out their use, in an interview with me tonight. pic.twitter.com/uxQqncLGYN
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) March 22, 2022
Peskov also claimed that Russia’s invasion is to “get rid of the military potential in Ukraine” and ensure the country’s neutrality, CNN reported. He also said the Kremlin has only attacked military targets, despite the number of reported attacks on civilians, notably the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol. (RELATED: ‘Mr. President, Are You Worried About Nuclear War?!’: Biden Ignores Press As He Returns From Weekend Away)
Putin has hinted at using nuclear weapons against nations Russia views as a threat, CNN reported. In February, the Russian president threatened that his country’s enemies will face consequences “as you have never seen in your entire history.”
“No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats to our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be as you have never seen in your entire history,” he said.
He has also ordered for the Russian Army Deterrence Force to be put on alert due to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries reportedly making “aggressive comments” about Russia, the outlet reported.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said March 1 that the alliance would not change its nuclear alert level despite Putin’s threats of a nuclear attack. He called Russia “reckless and irresponsible” in hinting at the use of nuclear weapons.