18 Aug, 2022 14:25 

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Russia explains terms for nuclear arms use

Moscow says it’s committed to avoiding the use of atomic weapons, except to prevent its own destruction

The Yars mobile intercontinental ballistic missile launcher.  © Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev

Russia is a responsible nuclear power and will only use its nuclear arms if attacked with weapons of mass destruction or if its existence is under threat, a spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry has said. Meanwhile, some Western officials argue that nukes can play a role on the battlefield, Ivan Nechaev added.

According to Russia’s official nuclear posture, “the use of the nuclear arsenal is possible only in response to an attack as a self-defense measure and in extreme circumstances,” the deputy press secretary of the ministry said during a daily briefing on Thursday.

The diplomat was responding to a question about the risk of nuclear escalation in the conflict with Ukraine. Russia is not in the habit of “saber-rattling, especially with nuclear weapons,” he said. Moscow is determined to keep the situation in Ukraine conventional and has no need to use a nuclear option in Ukraine, Nechaev asserted.

READ MORE: NATO applauds deployment of US nukes in Eastern Europe

He lamented that the leaders of Western powers have become far less responsible than their Cold War-era predecessors when it comes to deterrence issues.

“The liberal-globalist circles think it possible to discuss lowering the benchmark for the use of nuclear weapons,” he said, citing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as one example.

The Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly reassured that its goals in Ukraine can be achieved without the use of nuclear arms. Deploying them would not make any military sense, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said this week.

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