Russia issues nuclear warning to Ukraine

SuchTV  |  Sep 27, 2022

Moscow's latest broadside came as European countries rushed to investigate unexplained, major leaks in two Russian natural gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea, which posed risks of explosions and the sinking of any ships that enter the area.

The Kremlin, which has blamed technical problems for earlier cuts in Russian gas supplies to Europe, said it could not rule out sabotage, without saying who was to blame.

Russia's confrontation with the West has driven up global inflation and sharpened energy and food crises in many countries since its Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine, which was met by tough Western sanctions and Russian retaliatory measures.

Tuesday's nuclear warning by Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council, is one of several issued by Putin and his associates in recent weeks.

Analysts say they are designed to deter Ukraine and the West by hinting at a readiness to use tactical nuclear weapons to defend newly annexed territory, where Russian forces have faced strong Ukrainian counteroffensives in recent weeks.

Medvedev's warning differed from earlier ones in that he predicted for the first time that the NATO military alliance would not risk a nuclear war and directly enter the Ukraine war even if Moscow struck Ukraine with nuclear weapons.

"I believe that NATO would not directly interfere in the conflict even in this scenario," Medvedev said in a post on Telegram.

"The demagogues across the ocean and in Europe are not going to die in a nuclear apocalypse."

First partial results from votes cast inside Russia on whether the four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine should be incorporated into Russia showed overwhelming majorities in favour.

It was a widely anticipated announcement after a five-day referendum that Kyiv and the West have denounced as a sham and say they will not recognise. Ukraine urged the EU to impose new punitive sanctions in response to votes it said were carried out at gunpoint in many cases.

Putin said on state TV the votes were designed to protect people from what he has called the persecution of ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers by Ukraine, something Kyiv has denied.

"Saving people in all the territories where this referendum is being held is at the top of our minds and the focus of attention of our entire society and country," Putin said.

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