Moscow says its nuclear doctrine is very clear and the current conflict in Ukraine does not meet any of its criteria
Allegations that Russia is threatening to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine are “untenable and baseless” Head of Moscow’s delegation to the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, Andrey Belousov, said Friday in New York.
“This is impossible since Russian doctrinal guidelines strictly limit the emergency situations in which the use of nuclear weapons is hypothetically possible, namely in response to aggression involving weapons of mass destruction, or in response to aggression involving conventional weapons, where the very existence of the state is threatened”, Belousov explained.
“None of these hypothetical scenarios are relevant to the situation in Ukraine,” he stated.
The Russian diplomat also rejected insinuations that Moscow would place its nuclear deterrent on “high alert,” explaining that the current state of “increased vigilance” with additional personnel serving at strategic command posts, was “completely different” real “state of high alert for strategic nuclear forces”.
In a letter to the participants of the NPT conference on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed that there would be no winners in a nuclear war and that it should never be allowed to happen. Belousov further explained that Moscow’s previous warnings about a “serious risk of nuclear war” were directed against NATO, as a means of deterring Western countries from direct aggression against Russia in the context of the Ukrainian crisis, because they “dangerously poised on the brink of direct armed confrontation with Russia.”
US President Joe Biden said this week that Washington is ready to negotiate quickly “a new framework for arms control” with Moscow, but according to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the United States has not yet made any proposal for an agreement that could potentially replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
The landmark New START remains the only major arms control agreement between Moscow and Washington still in effect. In early 2021, the deal was set to expire, but it was finally clawed back shortly after Biden’s inauguration, when Washington finally accepted Moscow’s calls to extend the deal without any preconditions. It is currently scheduled to expire in 2026.
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