BRUSSELS.- President Vladimir Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons this Wednesday provoked strong reactions from the international community. The Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenbergaccused the Russian president of using a “reckless nuclear rhetoric” referring to the war in Ukraine.
“This is dangerous and reckless nuclear rhetoric. It is not new, because he has done it many times before. [Putin] knows very well that a nuclear war must never be fought and cannot be won.” Stoltenberg said at a side event at the UN General Assembly.
In any case, Stoltenberg noted, the eventual use of nuclear weapons “would have unprecedented consequences for Russia” and pointed out that the answer of the transatlantic alliance will depend on the situation and the type of device used. The reaction “depends on what kind of situation and what kind of weapons they can use. The most important thing is to prevent that from happening,” he stated.
“That is why we have been so clear in ongoing communications with Russia about the unprecedented consequences of the fact that Russia cannot win a nuclear war,” Stoltenberg insisted on a panel. NATO allies, he said, “We will remain calm and maintain our support for Ukraine”.
In Washington, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the US government takes the Russian president’s statement “seriously”.
“We are monitoring their strategic posture as best we can so that we can modify ours if necessary. We have not seen any indication that that is necessary at this time,” he added.
When asked what Washington’s response would be, Kirby reiterated what President Joe Biden had said. ”There will be serious consequences. Not only will it be more and more a pariah on the world stage, but there will have to be serious consequences from the international community.”he pointed.
Along the same lines, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, denounced that “World peace is at risk” due to Russia’s “nuclear blackmail”.
”Threatening to use nuclear weapons is unacceptable and a real danger to all. The international community must unite to prevent these actions. World peace is at risk.” The High Representative has warned in a message on social networks.
For his part, the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, who will appear before the UN General Assembly today, lowered his tone in an interview with the German channel bild tv and stated that “does not believe” that Russia will use nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine.
“I don’t think those weapons will be used. I don’t think the world will let that happen.”assured the head of the Ukrainian state, according to excerpts from the interview.
The Pope Francis joined the reactions and said on Wednesday that thinking of such an act is “madness”. He also stated that Ukrainians are being subjected to savagery, monstrosities and torture, calling them a “noble” people who are being martyred.
Referring to his recent trip to Kazakhstan Before a crowd gathered for his general audience in St. Peter’s Square, the pontiff praised the Central Asian country for giving up nuclear weapons after its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. ”This was brave. At a time in this tragic war when some are thinking about nuclear weapons – which is crazy – this country said ‘no’ to nuclear weapons from the beginning.”he claimed.
According to British Foreign Secretary Gillian Keegan, the Russian president’s speech was a worrying escalation and the threats he made in it must be taken seriously. “Clearly it’s something we have to take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control. I’m not sure he’s in control either, really. This is obviously an escalation,” she told Sky News.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz focused his response on the part of Putin’s speech announcing the mobilization of 300,000 reservists. “All this can only be explained in the context of the fact that the Russian attack on Ukraine has not been successful,” the spokesman quoted the chancellor.
He added that Russian President Vladimir Putin had to regroup his troops, withdraw from kyiv, and had not achieved the desired success in eastern Ukraine either. “It is a visible sign that Ukraine is very effective in defending its own integrity and sovereignty, not least because of the massive and broad support of many countries in the world, most especially Germany.”
“Moscow’s announcement of a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia and the calling of annexation referendums in the occupied Ukrainian territories are signs of Russian weakness and failure”, affirmed the United States ambassador in kyiv, Bridget Brink.
“The farce of the referendums and the mobilization are signs of Russian weakness and failure,” Brink wrote on Twitter, adding that his country will continue to “support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
The imprisoned opponent also agreed with the statements Alexei Navalny and added that partial mobilization will lead to “an enormous tragedy.” “All this will lead to a huge tragedy and a huge number of deaths,” the Kremlin’s main critic declared at a hearing held on the occasion of one of his many trials, according to a video released by Russian media.
Even China called on Wednesday for a “ceasefire through dialogue”. “We call on the relevant parties to reach a ceasefire through dialogue” and “find a solution that responds to the legitimate security concerns of all parties as soon as possible,” the ministry spokesman said at a press conference. Chinese Foreign Secretary Wang Wenbin.
Meanwhile, the Government of Lithuania announced that its Armed Forces are already on alert, fearing a possible “provocation” from the neighboring country. The Lithuanian Defense Minister, Arvidas Anusauskas, reported that the Rapid Reaction Force is already “on high alert”, alleging that the Russian military mobilization will also take place “near” the common border, specifically in the Kaliningrad region.
”Lithuania cannot just watch”, Anusauskas has pointed out, in a series of messages on social networks in which he has confirmed that the Lithuanian authorities are already analyzing how to increase the aid they currently provide to Ukraine.
For the minister, the call-up of some 300,000 reservists evidences the “despair” of Moscow, which in recent weeks has seen how it lost ground in the eastern part of Ukraine as a result of the start of a military counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops.
The President of Moldova, Maia Sandu, has convened the National Security Council for next Saturday to address the latest developments at the regional level, marked by the announcement of “partial mobilization” of the Russian population.
As detailed on Tuesday by the press service of the Moldovan presidency, the Council will discuss the security of the region in the context of the war in Ukraine, according to the Moldpres news agency.
AFP, ANSA and DPA agencies