LONDON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Russia is not considering using nuclear weapons, the Kremlin said on Thursday.
President Vladimir Putin has said Russia will defend its territory with all available means, including its nuclear weapons, if attacked. Russian officials say the West has repeatedly misinterpreted Kremlin statements.
Asked if it was possible that Russia would use a nuclear weapon and whether or not it had been discussed, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said even the framing of such questions was unacceptable.
“If you have noticed, no one from the Russian side is discussing this topic and has not discussed it,” Peskov said.
Putin’s spokesman blamed European capitals for discussing the nuclear issue and “thereby escalating tensions in a completely unacceptable, impermissible and potentially dangerous sphere.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered the biggest confrontation between Moscow and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis when the two Cold War superpowers came closest to intentional nuclear war.
Russia and the United States are by far the biggest nuclear powers, together holding around 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads – enough to destroy the planet many times over.
Putin on Sept. 21 warned the West he was not bluffing when he said he’d be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia. On Sept. 30, he said the United States had created a “precedent” by dropping two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945.
Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge
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