Moscow has no army requirement to prefer nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday.
During an international security conference in Moscow, Shoigu stated, “From a military point of view, there is no need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve the set goals.”
He slammed media assumptions that Russia could potentially use nuclear or chemical weapons to compensate for slow progress in its around the six-months military campaign in Ukraine as “absolute lies.”
Meanwhile, General Jim Hockenhull, head of British military intelligence said, “The likelihood of Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine may change if the battlefield dynamic shifts.”
Shoigu said “The primary purpose of Russian nuclear weapons is to prevent a nuclear attack. Its use is limited to extraordinary circumstances.”
Russian diplomat Alexander Trofimov said to the UN’s nuclear non-proliferation conference earlier this month that those circumstances include a strike by a weapon of mass destruction or a conventional weapon attack that “threatened the existence of the Russian state.”
Trofimov made clear that the hypothetical scenarios were not “relevant” to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but accused NATO of waging a hybrid confrontation that “dangerously balances on the edge of an open military clash.”
Russia’s Embassy in Washington on Tuesday accused the United States of increasing the threat of “a direct military clash of nuclear powers” through “hybrid confrontation” in Ukraine.
“The U.S. steps to further engage in a hybrid confrontation with Russia in the context of the Ukrainian crisis are fraught with unpredictable escalation and a direct military clash of nuclear powers,” the Russian mission said in a statement.
President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert days after launching what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine, fueling fears that the country could deploy its arsenal there.