In an interview with CNN Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said “all of the countries of the world” should be ready for the likelihood that Russian President Vladimir Putin could employ tactical nuclear weapons in his war on Ukraine.
According to Zelensky, Putin could use nuclear or chemical weapons because he does not value the lives of the people of Ukraine.
“Not only me — all of the world, all of the countries have to be worried because it can be not real information, but it can be truth,” Zelensky said, speaking in English.
“Chemical weapons, they should do it, they could do it, for them the life of the people, nothing. That’s why,” Zelensky added.
“We should think not be afraid, not be afraid but be ready. But that is not a question for Ukraine, not only for Ukraine but for all the world, I think.”
President Zelensky has stayed in Ukraine throughout the course of the 50-day war with Russia, as Ukraine’s forces have withstood the Kremlin’s attempts to seize Kyiv and forced Russia to refocus its war efforts on the eastern and southern regions of the country, where Ukraine is expecting a crucial escalation in battling in the days to come.
This week, one of Russia’s most important naval warships sunk in the Black Sea, which Ukraine said was the result of a missile strike, while Russia alleged it was as a result of a fire from the detonation of ammunition.
Russia, at the same time, is firing cruise missiles into the outskirts of Kyiv and still maintains the ability to target Ukraine’s capital with long-range weaponry.
US officials have cautioned about the probability that Putin, if backed into a corner, could turn to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
According to CIA Director Bill Burns Thursday that the CIA watches “very intently” over the possibility, while emphasizing that the US has not yet seen any signs that Russia is preparing to take such a step.
“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low yield nuclear weapons,” he said in public remarks at Georgia Tech.
Watch the interview here.