Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened he would employ nuclear weapons to defend his territory. The warning marked the biggest escalation since the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24. So should the UK mobilise to protect against the threat of nuclear war? Vote in our poll.
On Wednesday, live on state television, he said: “I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff.”
He also accused western countries of plotting against Russia, saying: “The aggressive anti-Russian policy of the West has crossed all lines.
“Those who blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind can turn in the other direction.”
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US President Joe Biden has pledged to support Ukraine despite Russia’s partial mobilisation.
Speaking hours after Putin’s announcement, he warned that Moscow has “lots of weapons to reply” to the West with.
A senior US administration official said the US would not change its commitment to Ukraine, declaring Putin’s actions as an “act of weakness”.
They added: “This is another episode in what has been a series of episodes over the course of this war where Putin is trying to rattle his sabre trying to scare us off.
“He has not succeeded before – he won’t succeed now, but that doesn’t mean that we’re blind to the dynamics that could relate to escalation and that we weren’t thinking carefully through in close consultation with our allies and with Ukrainians how we would deal with that.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed Putin’s moves and said his armed forces would continue their counter-defence.
In a pre-recorded broadcast to the UN General Assembly, he said: “We can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with the force of arms, but we need time.”
Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared talk of nuclear conflict as “totally unacceptable”.
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Foreign Office minister Gillian Keegan said that Putin’s declaration suggested a “worrying escalation” of the war in Ukraine.
She said that the threats should be taken “seriously” as Ukraine regains control of occupied territory.
During the Tory leadership contest, Liz Truss said she was “ready” to push the nuclear button.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace responded to Putin’s latest threat by claiming “no amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war”.
The Federation of American Scientists records Russia having the biggest nuclear arsenal with 5,977 nuclear warheads.
In comparison, the UK is reported to have 225 strategic nuclear warheads.
So what do YOU think? Should the UK mobilise to protect against the threat of nuclear war? Vote in our poll and join the debate in the comment section below.