Zelensky responds to Putin’s nuclear warning
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said he “does not believe” Moscow could resort to the nuclear option in its ongoing conflict with his country, he told Germany’s Bild tabloid on Wednesday.
Zelensky added that Kiev’s own military plans remain unchanged.
“I do not believe that he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] will use these weapons,” Zelensky told Bild when asked about a potential nuclear strike against his nation.
“There are risks,” he told Bild, though, arguing that he “cannot get” into Putin’s head.
Zelensky also accused Russia of nuclear blackmail, adding that one should not give in to Moscow’s threats. He also claimed that Russia could then potentially demand “a part of Poland” and threaten to use nukes as well.
So far, Kiev’s strategy remains unchanged, Zelensky said. “We will act according to our plans step by step. I am sure we will liberate our territory,” he added. The president also blasted the upcoming referendums on joining Russia that the Donbass republics are about to hold.
Zelensky branded the voting “sham referendums,” adding that most nations around the world “will not recognize them.”
His words came as Putin announced a partial military mobilization, describing the move as sensible and necessary due to the military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.