Russia assures that, after all, it will not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. The guarantee was given by the Russian Foreign Minister this Tuesday, in an interview with “India Today” television. “Only conventional weapons” will be used by Russian troops, said Sergei Lavrov, after being asked about the possible use of a nuclear arsenal against Ukraine.
However, Lavrov, as Russia’s foreign minister, is not directly responsible for the military decisions made in the Ukraine war, one of the reasons why Sergei Lavrov’s statement is met with some skepticism in the West.
The nuclear threat was launched several times by Russia, at different times of the war. At an early stage, Vladimir Putin warned that anyone who opposed his actions would see weapons never seen before, and Sergei Lavrov twice claimed that a Third World War could only be “nuclear”. The threat put the West on high alert.
At the end of March, the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine was raised again. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted in an interview with CNN: “If there is an existential threat to our country, then they can be used.” The Pentagon reacted to Peskov’s comments, which it considered “dangerous”. “This is not how a responsible nuclear power should act,” condemned spokesman John Kirby. Russia is the world power with the most nuclear warheads, ahead of the United States.
More recently, last week, Russia again threatened to deploy nuclear weapons, in this case not in Ukraine, but in the Baltic Sea if Sweden and Finland decide to join NATO. “It will be necessary to reinforce the ground force pooling, anti-air defense, deploy significant naval forces in the waters of the Gulf of Finland. And then we can no longer speak of a Baltic without nuclear weapons. The balance must be reestablished,” threatened Security Council vice president and former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.
Now Sergei Lavrov, who is also the head of Russian diplomacy, rules out a nuclear threat, at least in Ukraine. The question is whether what the Russian Foreign Minister says can be trusted and whether the Kremlin will keep its promise. In January, Lavrov said that Russia was not going to start a war in Ukraine, but on February 24, the “special military operation” began.
“Spooky. Usually they do what they deny. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov assures that Russia is not considering the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.”
The possible use of nuclear weapons was one of the biggest fears of the war in Ukraine. Western intelligence services are still warning of the possibility that the Kremlin may resort to tactical nuclear weapons, or another arsenal with more limited capabilities, if Ukrainian forces continue to hold out in the east and south of the country, notes Bloomberg.
In the interview with “India Today”, Lavrov also said that the Russian “special military operation” has now entered a new phase – with the battle in Donbas – that will continue. “The operation in eastern Ukraine aims, as announced from the beginning, to fully liberate the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk. And this operation will continue,” he warned, adding that “it will be a very important moment for the entire special military operation” of Russia.