Putin’s top diplomat in the UK says Russia won’t use nukes in Ukraine as Moscow spreads baseless ‘dirty bomb’ claims

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Russian Yars ballistic nuclear missiles on mobile launchers roll through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade rehearsals on May 6, 2018 in Moscow, Russia
Russian Yars ballistic nuclear missiles on mobile launchers roll through Red Square during the Victory Day military parade rehearsals on May 6, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.

  • Russia’s top diplomat in the UK said his country will not use a nuke in Ukraine.
  • “Russia is not going to use nukes,” he told CNN, adding that “it is out of the question.”
  • Putin has made repeated nuclear threats since the war began. 

Throughout the war in Ukraine, there’s been growing concern that Russia could use a nuclear weapon, but Moscow’s top diplomat in the UK has said this is not on the table. 

“Russia is not going to use nukes,” Andrei Kelin, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “It is out of the question,” he added.

The senior Russian diplomat’s remarks on the use of nuclear weapons came as top Russian officials continue to spread baseless claims that Ukraine is planning to use a “dirty bomb” — a weapon that combines conventional explosives and radioactive material — in its own territory and blame it on Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has made repeated nuclear threats since launching an unprovoked, large-scale invasion of Ukraine, repeated the unfounded allegations made by other officials for the first time on Wednesday. 

Western governments have widely condemned Russia’s “dirty bomb” assertions, warning that Moscow could be accusing others of something it may itself be planning and could be seeking a pretext for escalating the war.

When asked about Moscow’s claims and the possibility that Russia could use a nuclear weapon, specifically a tactical nuke, President Joe Biden on Tuesday told reporters, “Let me just say Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake if it were to use a tactical nuclear weapon.”

“I’m not guaranteeing that it’s a false flag operation yet,” Biden said. “We don’t know.” He added that were Russia to make such a play, “it would be a serious, serious mistake.” 

Military analysts and top Russia experts have said that Putin’s nuclear threats and the recent “dirty bomb” rhetoric are likely an effort to spread fear and push the West away from continuing to provide Kyiv with aid. Weapons supplied to Ukraine by the US and other partner nations have played a key role on the battlefield, helping Ukrainian forces push back the Russian invaders and capture lost territory. 

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov on Wednesday also threw cold water on the notion Russia would use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. “My personal opinion is that Putin won’t use nukes,” Reznikov said at a news briefing, per Reuters.

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