‘A risk to the entire planet’: Volodymyr Zelensky warns Russian officials are ‘already preparing their citizens for nuclear war’ – after Ukraine’s president backtracks on comments suggesting Nato is ‘launching pre-emptive strikes’ on Putin’s forces
- Ukraine’s president said ‘kicks, not attacks’ would be needed to stop nuclear talk
- The Kremlin has teased the potential use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine in recent weeks
- The Kyiv leader said Putin’s cronies are working to ‘prepare their society’ for launch
- Zelensky had called for Nato ‘attacks’ on Russia, but insisted he meant sanctions
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Western allies to ‘fight back’ against Putin’s alleged plans to use nuclear weapons in the country.
Zelensky slammed Russia’s nuclear saber-rattling, saying it posed ‘a risk to the entire planet’.
In a new interview with BBCZelensky also said that Kremlin officials are working to ‘prepare their citizens’ for the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
He added: ‘It is very dangerous. They are not ready to do it, to use it. But they begin to communicate. They don’t know if they want to use it or not. I think it’s dangerous to even talk about it.’
Zelensky called on Nato members to use more ‘pre-emptive strikes’ against Russia in a new attempt to stop the war.
He said: ‘The world can immediately stop the actions of the Russian occupiers.
Zelensky told the BBC tonight that Russia is ‘preparing its citizens’ for nuclear war
He told John Simpson (left) that the West needs more ‘preemptive kicks’ against Moscow
It comes as Putin grows increasingly desperate for losses in southern and eastern Ukraine
Putin has previously hinted at the use of nuclear weapons, saying on September 21: ‘When its territorial integrity is threatened, Russia will use everything it can, this is not a bluff’
‘The world can implement the sanctions package in such cases and do everything to make them leave [Zaporizhzhia] Nuclear Plant.’
The Kyiv leader found himself in hot water yesterday after calling on Nato to “strike” Russia – but insisted he was merely talking about a more rigid sanctions regime.
Zelensky controversially called for “preemptive strikes so (Russia) knows what will happen to them if they use them (nuclear weapons), and not the other way around.”
“Don’t wait for Russia’s nuclear attack and then say, “Oh, since you did this, take it away from us!””
The Kremlin warned of potentially ‘monstrous consequences’ after Zelensky’s tough talk
Russia said Zelensky’s comments to Australian think tank risked starting ‘another world war’
The Kremlin jumped at the chance to denounce Zelensky’s words as having “monstrous” implications.
But the Kyiv leader insisted he had been mistranslated and referred only to a toughened sanctions regime.
Zelensky spokesman Serhii Nykyforov said the leader was referring to pre-emptive sanctions he had wanted applied before Russia’s full-scale invasion, adding that Ukraine would ‘never call for the use of nuclear weapons.’
Meanwhile, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the president’s office, said Zelensky reminded listeners of Russia’s nuclear blackmail and asked allies to preemptively outline the consequences for Russia and “intensify attacks against Russia, including sanctions and military aid.”
Ukraine has advanced 12 miles in just 48 hours in northern Kherson, the British MoD has said
It comes as Ukraine has pushed Russia back 12 miles to the south as dramatic footage yesterday revealed the ferocious pace of attacks that have sent Putin’s men running for their lives.
Videos taken in Kherson in recent days show Ukrainian forces storming Russian defenses in US-made Humvees under artillery fire, and soldiers advancing en masse across fields in the face of the retreating enemy.
Ukraine’s offensive in Kherson – which has been going on for more than two months – entered a ‘new phase’ on October 2, with Kyiv’s men advancing 12 miles down the Inhulets and Dnipro rivers, Britain’s MoD said yesterday.
Other footage shows Ukrainian soldiers fighting near the northern town of Lyman, which fell to Kiev’s men at the weekend – exposing other Russian positions in the Donbas to further attacks.