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Russia could use nuclear weapons if existence threatened

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said in an interview that Russia would only use nuclear weapons if its very existence were threatened.

Peskov’s comment came as CNN interviewer Christiane Amanpour pushed him on whether he was “convinced or confident” that President Vladimir Putin would not use the nuclear option in the Ukrainian context.

“We have a concept of domestic security, and it’s public. You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” Peskov said on Tuesday.

“So if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept.”

Putin last month ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert.

In line with the order, Russia’s defence ministry said on February 28 that its nuclear missile forces and northern and Pacific fleets had been placed on enhanced combat duty, the Interfax news agency reported.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on March 14 that “the prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility”.

Peskov also told CNN that Russia’s war in Ukraine was “going on strictly in accordance with the plans and the purposes that were established beforehand”.