Putin spokesperson refuses to rule out Russia using nuclear weapons against ‘existential threat’ in CNN interview

A spokesman for Vladimir Putin refused to rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons against Ukraine in case of an “existential threat” to Russia.

Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s press secretary, spoke to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday where he was questioned about the possibility of the Russian president using nuclear weapons amid increased global tensions around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I need to ask you this, because the world is afraid, and I want to know whether Putin intends the world to be afraid of the nuclear option, would he use it?” Ms Amanpour asked.

Mr Peskov, however, repeatedly refused to rule out that Russia would consider using nuclear weapons and said that Moscow had expressed “concerns” over Ukraine for decades, but the “anti-Russia” west did not listen.

“Mr Putin intends to make the world listen to our concerns,” Mr Peskov said. “We have been trying to convey our concerns to the world, to Europe, to United States, for couple of decades, but no one would listen to us.”

“And before it was too late, it was a decision to launch a special military operation to get rid of the anti-Russia that was created next to our border,” Mr Peskov said, referring to the Ukraine invasion that the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”.

Mr Peskov added that Ukraine was “formed by the western countries” as “anti-Russia”.

When Ms Amanpour pressed the Russian official on whether he feels convinced that Mr Putin will not use the nuclear weapons, he said: “Well, we have a concept of domestic security, and, well, it’s public.”

“You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used. So, if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used, in accordance with our concept,” he told Ms Amanpour.

Mr Peskov was also asked about what Russia has achieved so far with its month-long invasion operation in Ukraine with Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces still giving a hard fight to Moscow which was initially believed to be the stronger side.

Mr Peskov answered: “Well, first of all, not yet. He hasn’t achieved yet.”

He added that the “special military operation” was “going on strictly in accordance with the plans and the purposes that were established beforehand.”

Mr Putin has repeatedly hinted at the use of nuclear weapons in what is believed to be a tactic to scare the world off from interfering with the war.

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)
This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)

“No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history,” Mr Putin said earlier in February in a televised statement.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here.

To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.