Russian officials downplay Putin’s nuclear threat – Nexus News

Few days after Russian President Vladimir Putin made a nuclear threat to Ukraine and its Western supporters, Russian officials downplayed the threat.

On Friday, Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, stated that Moscow was not threatening the use of nuclear weapons and that any confrontation with NATO and the United States was not in the Kremlin’s interests.

​​“We are not threatening anyone with nuclear weapons,” Ryabkov informed reporters. “The criteria for their use are outlined in Russia’s military doctrine.”

In a televised speech earlier this week, Putin disclosed that he was “not bluffing” about using nuclear weapons if Russian territories were threatened as he revealed a partial mobilization to heighten the military fighting in Ukraine.

But Ryabkov said Russia was not seeking “open confrontation” with the US or NATO and did not want the situation to intensify.

Also on Friday, Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, stated that he wanted to believe “that despite all difficulties, Moscow and Washington are not on the verge of a collapse into the abyss of a nuclear conflict”, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

And two retired Russian generals informed Al Jazeera that they believed the likelihood of a nuclear fight was slim.

Read Also: Russia justifies Ukraine war as US, others criticize alleged abuses 

On Wednesday, Putin declared Russia’s first mobilization since the second world war and informed the public that his nation was fighting against Ukraine and the military resources of the Western countries that support Kyiv.

During the speech, Putin noted that he supports the annexation referendums across four regions that are in progress in Ukraine.

Russian officials, including ex-President Dmitry Medvedev, said once the regions are incorporated into Russia, Ukrainian attacks on these areas would be named direct assaults on Russia.

This would mean, under Russia’s nuclear doctrine, it could allow the use of nuclear weapons if Moscow considers it is facing an “existential threat”.

Meanwhile, speeches at the United Nations Security Council on Thursday were highly condemning Russia, with non-aligned nations joining the US and its supporters in criticizing the invasion of Ukraine.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who attended the UN meeting, said Ukraine had become “an anti-Russia staging ground to create threats against Russian security”.

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