Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, called for NATO to take “preemptive actions” against Russian targets in order to stop them from using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
During a Thursday event with the Lowy Institute, the president stated that these actions were necessary so that the Russians know what lies ahead if they use nuclear arms. “Not the opposite, not waiting for Russia to launch nuclear strikes, then saying, “Oh, you’ve done this, then get this.”
Zelensky’s comments were interrupted by his interpreter who said that he was calling for “preventative strikes.” But then he corrected himself and said “preventative actions.”
Mykhailo Podolak, Zelensky’s adviser, stated on social media that reports calling for a preventative nuke strike were “fake.”
“Another ru-fake. 1. @ZelenskyyUa said nothing about a preventive nuclear strike on RF,” he said. “2. Zelensky reminded about Russian nuclear blackmail and suggested preemptively outlining the consequences for Russia and intensifying strikes against it – sanctions and armed assistance to UA.”
His comments were made amid growing concern that Russian President Vladimir Putin might use a tactical nuke weapon in light of developments outside his control and against his interest.
Despite protests from the West, Russia is proceeding with the annexed of four regions of south and east Ukraine. Putin warned that Russia would view any attacks on these areas as an attack against the Russian Federation.
Despite the fact that the annexation process was a sham referendum, it passed with overwhelming support. However, Putin continued to saber-rattle and threatened to use nuclear weapons, threats he made throughout the war. However, U.S. officials reiterated this week that they see no reason to alter their nuclear position despite the concern.
After the annexation, the administration issued new sanctions against Russian officials. Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor, warned of “catastrophic” consequences if they launch a nuclear weapon. However, they remain tight-lipped about their response.
Dutch Adm. The chairman of NATO’s military commission, Rob Bauer, said earlier this week that Russia would regret using a nuclear weapon. He told the Warsaw Security Forum that “the response will be such that Russia will regret what it did.” That is something I find extremely important.”
Like Sullivan, he did not give specifics about what a response might look like.
Tobias Ellwood is the chairman of the House of Commons defense and security committee. He stated earlier this week that NATO could use “conventional” military operations to respond. “Probably involving every F-35 NATO has and possibly taking out maybe every asset that’s in Ukraine.”
He said, “This idea of strategic ambiguity — being vague about what you might be doing but you might do it — is not sufficient.”
Putin ordered a “partial mobilization” of about 300,000 Russian conscripts after the Ukrainian forces had successfully counteroffensive. However, the announcement also prompted a large exodus of draft-eligible men to flee Russia by air and car. Some protestors have taken to the streets of some cities.