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14 Mar, 2024 15:03

Kremlin slams US ‘distortion’ of Putin’s words on nuclear weapons

Dmitry Peskov was commenting on the White House press secretary’s remarks about Russia’s nuclear doctrine  
Kremlin slams US ‘distortion’ of Putin’s words on nuclear weapons

Washington “deliberately distorted” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words about the conditions under which Moscow would use nuclear weapons, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.  

He was referring to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s remarks about an interview Putin gave that aired on Wednesday.  

While answering a reporter’s question on whether US President Joe Biden had been briefed about Putin’s comments, Jean-Pierre responded that the Russian leader was “restating Russia’s nuclear doctrine” but went on to claim that “Russia’s nuclear rhetoric has been reckless and irresponsible throughout this conflict.”    

Peskov described the White House’s reaction to Putin’s interview as an “absolutely deliberate distortion of the context,” adding that “no threats to use nuclear weapons were made by Putin in this interview.”  

He indicated that the president was answering the journalist’s questions rather than making official statements and explained that Putin “was just talking about the reasons that could make the use of nuclear weapons inevitable.”  

The Kremlin spokesperson also drew attention to the fact that Jean-Pierre had omitted the president’s remark where he stressed that “it has never come into his mind to use tactical nuclear weapons” despite the “various situations” that had emerged on the battlefield.   

While answering a question about tactical nuclear arms in the interview, Putin stressed that weapons of mass destruction have never been used by Russia in Ukraine.   

“Weapons exist to be used. We have our own principles and they imply that we are ready to use any weapons, including the ones you mentioned, if we are talking about the existence of the Russian state, in case of a threat to our sovereignty and independence. Everything is written in our Strategy, we haven’t changed it.”  

In June 2020, Putin signed a decree on Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy. The document provides for the use of nuclear weapons in a number of cases, one of which is aggression against Russia using conventional weapons that puts the existence of the state at risk.   

Putin warned that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons and considers its arsenal “more advanced than anyone else’s.”  

Meanwhile, the Russian leader suggested that Washington has enough experts in strategic deterrence, including President Joe Biden himself, to avoid a nuclear conflagration. But he added that if the US abandons its de facto moratorium on nuclear tests, Moscow will do the same.