May 22, 2022, 7:54

    Russia warns nuclear weapon use will be justified if there is an ‘existential threat’ – World News

    Russia warns nuclear weapon use will be justified if there is an ‘existential threat’ – World News

    Russia has claimed that use of its nuclear arsenal is justified by any “existential threat” the country faces.

    Moscow’s deputy foreign minister said yesterday that a pre-emptive nuclear strike would be justified under Russia ’s military doctrine.

    Alexandre Grushko was quoted by state news agency RIA as saying that under Russia’s official military doctrine the country was justified in using its nukes.

    He said: "We have a military doctrine – everything is written there."

    Under Russia’s official military deployment principles the country states it can use nuclear weapons if they, or other weapons of mass destruction, are used against the country.

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    There are concerns Russia will turn to the tactical use of nuclear weapons

    Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    It adds that if the Russian state faces any other type of existential threat then it can use its nukes.

    The decision rests with the country’s president Vladimir Putin, who since the invasion began has been seen carrying the country’s nuclear briefcase on one occasion.

    There have been concerns that Russia would resort to using its nuclear arsenal as its invasion of Ukraine continues.

    A decree signed by Putin in 2020 explained Russia’s belief when it would be able to use its nuclear weapons as “exclusively a means of deterrence”.

    It goes on to lay out four circumstances under which a nuclear strike could be ordered.

    Ukrainian death toll as Russian invasion sparks bloodshed

    The unprovoked invasion of neighbouring Ukraine by Russian forces on the command of President Vladimir Putin has sparked bloodshed and chaos.

    With Putin's troops shelling cities across Ukraine and the nation's army vowing to fight to the death to defend their land, observers fear the death toll will be enormous.

    On Sunday, February 27, Ukraine's health minister reported that at least 352 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since the Russian invasion began, and more than 1,000 wounded.

    On March 1, Ukraine claimed to have killed 5,710 Russian soldiers since the start of the invasion.

    These claims have not yet been independently verified but a human rights monitoring team from the United Nations has confirmed more than 500 civilian casualties in Ukraine.

    At least 136 people have been killed, including 13 children, a UN report showed on Tuesday.

    Bachelet, addressing the opening session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, previously said: "Most of these civilians were killed by explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multi-launch rocket systems, and air strikes. The real figures are, I fear, considerably higher."

    It comes as Ukraine's President accused Russia of 'state terrorism' on Tuesday after the indiscriminate bombing of Kharkiv.

    This included reliable information of a ballistic missile attack on Russia and an attack on “critical state or military installations”.

    US CIA Director William Burns said last Saturday that Putin believes he cannot afford to lose the war in Ukraine.

    He cautioned that the West could not ignore the risk that Russia and its president would use nuclear weapons.

    Burns said: "We don't see, as an intelligence community, practical evidence at this point of Russian planning for a deployment or even use of tactical nuclear weapons," Burns said.

    He cautioned that "the stakes are very high for Putin's Russia."

    Director William Burns

    POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

    This comes as Russia’s invasion into Ukraine continues well into its third month after it began on February 24.

    During the initial phase of the invasion, Moscow’s forces pushed towards the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

    However, after weeks of failing to take the capital or any of the other major cities, Russia’s forces pulled back and regrouped in the east of the country, in the Donbas.

    So far, tens of thousands have died as a result of the war and nearly ten million people have been displaced.

    There are also fears the conflict might spill beyond the border into a wider conflict between Russia and the west.

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