Mar 29, 2022 - World

Kremlin official: Russia will only use nuclear arms if existence threatened

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov attends the conference where winners of the contest "News Photo Awards in March 2021.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russia would only use nuclear weapons if there's a "threat for existence" to the country and not due to the war with Ukraine, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with PBS on Monday.

Driving the news: There have been concerns about Russian forces using nuclear arms since Russian President Vladimir Putin put the country's nuclear deterrence force on alert last month after launching the invasion.

  • "PBS Newshour" journalist Ryan Chilcote noted to Peskov in their interview that former President Dmitry Medvedev said this week that Russia "reserves the right to use nuclear weapons if it faces an existential threat, even if the other side has not employed nuclear weapons."

What they're saying: "Any outcome of the operation, of course, is not a reason for usage of a nuclear weapon," said Peskov, sticking to the Kremlin's description of the invasion as an "operation."

  • "We have a security concept that very clearly states that only when there is a threat for existence of the state, in our country, we can use and we will actually use nuclear weapons to eliminate the threat for the existence of our country," he continued.
  • "Let's keep these two things separate, I mean, existence of the state and special military operation in Ukraine. They have nothing to do with each other."

Go deeper: Axios explains Ukraine

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