‘A risk to the whole planet’: Volodymyr Zelensky warns Russian officials are ‘already preparing their citizens for nuclear war’ – after Ukraine’s president backtracked on comments suggesting Nato ‘launch pre-emptive strikes’ on Putin’s forces
- Ukrainian president said ‘kicks, not attacks’ would be needed to halt nuclear talk
- Kremlin has teased potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine in recent weeks
- Kyiv leader said Putin’s cronies are working to ‘prepare their society’ for launch
- Zelensky had called for Nato ‘strikes’ on Russia, but insisted he meant sanctions
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has urged western allies to ‘kick’ back against Putin’s alleged plans to use nuclear weapons in the country.
Zelensky slammed Russia’s nuclear saber-rattling, saying it posed ‘a risk for the whole planet’.
In a new interview with the BBC, Zelensky also said Kremlin officials are working to ‘prepare their citizens’ for the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
He added: ‘That’s very dangerous. They are not ready to do it, to use it. But they begin to communicate. They don’t know whether they’ll use or not use it. I think it’s dangerous to even speak about it.’
Zelensky called on Nato members to use more ‘preventive kicks’ against Russia in a new bid to halt the war.
He said: ‘The world can stop urgently the actions of Russian occupiers.
Zelensky tonight told the BBC that Russia is ‘preparing its citizens’ for nuclear warfare
He told John Simpson (left) that the west must use more ‘preventive kicks’ against Moscow
It comes as increasingly desperate Putin continues to suffer losses in south and east Ukraine
Putin has previously hinted at the use of nuclear weapons, saying on September 21: ‘When its territorial integrity is threatened, Russia will use everything it can, this is not a bluff’
‘The world can implement the sanction package in such cases and do everything to make them leave the [Zaporizhzhia] nuclear power plant.’
The Kyiv leader yesterday found himself in hot water after urging Nato ‘strikes’ on Russia – but insisted he was simply talking about a more rigid sanctions regime.
Zelensky controversially called for ‘pre-emptive strikes so that (Russia) knows what will happen to them if they use them (nuclear weapons), and not the other way around.’
‘Don’t wait for Russia’s nuclear strikes and then say: ”Oh, since you did this, take that from us!”’
The Kremlin warned of potentially ‘monstrous consequences’ after Zelensky’s tough talk
Russia said Zelensky’s comments to an Aussie think tank risked starting ‘yet another world war’
The Kremlin pounced at the opportunity to condemn Zelensky’s words as having ‘monstrous’ implications.
But the Kyiv leader insisted he had been mistranslated and was only referring to a heightened sanctions regime.
Zelensky spokesperson Serhii Nykyforov said the leader was referring to preventive sanctions that he had wanted applied before Russia’s full-scale invasion, adding that Ukraine ‘would never call for the use of nuclear weapons.’
Meanwhile Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the President’s Office, said Zelensky was reminding listeners of Russia’s nuclear blackmail and was asking allies to preemptively outline the consequences for Russia and ‘intensify strikes against Russia, including sanctions and military aid’.
It comes as Ukraine has pushed Russia back by 12 miles in the south as dramatic footage yesterday revealed the blistering pace of attacks that have sent Putin’s men fleeing for their lives.
Videos taken in Kherson in recent days show Ukrainian forces storming Russian defences in American-made Humvees under artillery fire, and soldiers advancing en masse across fields in the face of the retreating enemy.
Ukraine’s offensive in Kherson – which has been grinding on for more than two months – entered a ‘new phase’ on October 2 with Kyiv’s men advancing 12 miles down the Inhulets and Dnipro rivers, Britain’s MoD said yesterday.
Other footage shows Ukrainian soldiers fighting near the city of Lyman, in the north of the country, which fell to Kyiv’s men at the weekend – exposing other Russian positions in the Donbas to further attacks.
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