LONDON, Oct 27 (Reuters) – The West says Russia has made repeated threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but what has President Vladimir Putin actually said on the possible use of nuclear weapons?
The recent surge in concern over a possible nuclear escalation come after two Putin speeches last month in which he clearly indicated that he would, if needed, use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.
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Putin on Sept. 21 warned the West he was not bluffing when he said Russia would use “all available means to protect Russia and our people”.
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The Kremlin chief said the West was plotting to destroy his country, engaging in “nuclear blackmail” by allegedly discussing the potential use of nuclear weapons against Moscow.
“This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them,” Putin said.
At a Kremlin ceremony to formally annex around 18% of Ukrainian territory on Sept. 30, Putin said that the United States had created a “precedent” by dropping atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
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He again repeated Kremlin policy that it would defend Russian land “with all the powers and means at our disposal”.
Shortly after the invasion, Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces onto high alert.
Putin, the ultimate decision maker on any nuclear launch, has not publicly mentioned tactical nuclear weapons in relation to Ukraine. Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says the United States has gravely distorted Putin’s words.