Russia Seeks to Dial Back Putin's Nuclear War Threat Again




  • In World
  • 2022-11-09 10:51:56Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Russian diplomats tried to dial back rising fears the Kremlin might use nuclear weapons in its war in Ukraine, clarifying that their use against conventional forces would only occur if the existence of the country was at stake.

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The note circulated among International Atomic Energy Agency diplomats in Vienna was the second Kremlin attempt this month to clarify its atomic doctrine. His troops losing ground on the battlefield, President Vladimir Putin in September fueled fears of escalation with warnings that Russia would use all means available to defend the parts of Ukraine it had illegally annexed.

While Russia's nuclear strategy allows it to "hypothetically resort to nuclear weapons," an attack would be launched only in response to first use by another country or if the "very existence of the state is in jeopardy," according to the document. "The most immediate task is to avoid any military clash of nuclear powers."

Putin's hints of possible nuclear use - along with more explicit threats by other Kremlin officials - drew denunciations from the US and its allies, as well as veiled criticism from China and India. Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz he opposed the use of nuclear force in Europe, in his most direct remarks yet on the need to keep Russia's war in Ukraine from escalating.

Tensions peaked when international inspectors visited Ukraine after Russia accused Kyiv of manufacturing a dirty bomb, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Wednesday in Egypt. Though monitors found no indications backing up the Russian claim, he said the charges raised anxiety.

"These assertions were made as part of a narrative leading to the use of nuclear weapons," Grossi said at the COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh. "We were all of a sudden considering this as a realistic possibility."

Russia's IAEA note was circulated late Tuesday as Moscow and Washington prepare to resume nuclear-weapons negotiations, even as the war in Ukraine rages into its ninth month. Talks focused on restarting inspections under the 2021 New START agreement are expected to convene in Cairo within the coming weeks.

Russia barred US inspectors from its nuclear weapons sites in August, citing visa and travel restrictions for Russians that it said made it impossible for them to reach the US.

In the IAEA note, Russia reiterated allegations the US and its allies have raised atomic tensions, calling on other nuclear-weapons states "to give up the dangerous attempts to infringe on vital interests of each other while balancing on the brink of a direct armed conflict."

(Adds IAEA comment in the fifth paragraph)

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©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • edy
    (2022-11-24 06:46:50Z)

    please don't war , i am sad

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