Putin's alarming nuclear threats raise concerns in the West

Written by Jakob A. Overgaard

Sep.09 - 2023 6:37 PM CET

Foto: Shutterstock
Foto: Shutterstock
The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has repeatedly voiced his apprehensions about Vladimir Putin's potential use of "nuclear blackmail" to instill fear among his adversaries.

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The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, has repeatedly voiced his concerns over Vladimir Putin's potential use of "nuclear blackmail" to instill fear in his adversaries.

This isn't a new sentiment from Zelensky. During a visit to Australia in October, he implored global leaders not to succumb to Russia's nuclear threats. In March, he informed Rafael Grossi, the chief of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), that the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station couldn't be assured while under Russian occupation.

Zelensky, in a tweet, mentioned his meeting with Grossi, emphasizing the discussion on the security of Ukraine's energy sector and nuclear facilities. He highlighted the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) being exploited by Russia for "radiation blackmail." He stressed, "The longer Russia occupies the ZNPP, the greater the threat to the security of Ukraine, Europe, and the world." On September 9, the IAEA voiced its apprehensions regarding the plant's safety due to escalating conflicts in the vicinity.

Over the past year and a half, Putin and his allies have frequently alluded to the possibility of a nuclear conflict. In a recent statement, Zelensky commented on Russian nuclear threats, suggesting that Putin appears "deflated – as a man, as a politician." He continued, referencing the death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the paramilitary Wagner Group, who perished in a plane crash on August 23.

The exact cause of the crash remains undisclosed. While many affiliated with the mercenary group and some Western analysts believe that significant events in Russia don't occur without Putin's knowledge, the Kremlin has vehemently denied any involvement in the incident, labeling such claims as "complete lies."

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's spokesperson, responded to the speculations, stating, "In the West, of course, this speculation comes from a certain angle. It’s all a complete lie. When discussing this matter, we should only rely on facts."

Zelensky's most recent cautionary statement was made during the 18th Yalta European Strategy meeting. At this gathering, he urged Western nations to impose further sanctions on Russia and to equip his military forces with effective weaponry to expedite the counteroffensive.

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