NATO official warns Russia and Vladimir Putin a nuclear attack on Ukraine could provoke a ‘physical response’
An official has suggested NATO and Ukraine’s allies may be forced to step in if Russian President Vladimir Putin follows through with his threats and launches a nuclear strike.
There will ‘never be peace in Europe’ while Putin is ‘in the Kremlin’.
General Sir Richard Sherriff says the “way to ensure peace” in Europe is to “prepare for war”.
A Northern Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) official has claimed the alliance may be forced to respond if Russia pushes ahead with its threat of a nuclear attack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last month insisted during his partial military mobilisation call he was not “bluffing” when he threatened to “use all available means to protect our people if the territorial integrity of our country” is terrorised.
Moscow has recently escalated its actions in the seven-month-long war, with dozens of missiles slamming into major cities across Ukraine and the illegal annexation of four regions as it desperately tries to slow Kyiv’s counter-offensive.
A senior NATO official has warned the alliance may be forced into a “physical response” if Russian President Vladimir pushes ahead with his threat of a nuclear attack. Picture: Getty Images
But a senior NATO official warned a nuclear strike would dramatically change the course of the war and could push the organisation into a “physical response”.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added any use of nuclear weapons would lead to “unprecedent consequences” for Russia and President Putin.
“(A strike would) almost certainly be drawing a physical response from many allies, and potentially from NATO itself,” they told Reuters on Wednesday.
They flagged Moscow appeared to be using the nuclear threats as a way of deterring NATO and other countries from directly entering the war to defend Ukraine.
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Wednesday it would continue to monitor Russia to see if President Putin might consider a nuclear attack.
“We’ve not seen any indicators at this point that would lead us to believe that,” he said.
Meanwhile, defiant Ukrainian soliders on the frontline have reportedly gained more territory from Russia as it continued its successful counter-offensive.
Five settlements in the Beryslav district in the north-east region of port city Kherson – Novovasylivka, Novogrygorivka, Nova Kamyanka, Tryfonivka, Chervone – have been reclaimed from Russian troops in the past day.
The gains in Kherson, which was one of the first regions to be seized after the invasion back in February, is crucial for Kyiv if it wants to change the course of the war.
New air defence systems have also arrived on the battlefront after repeated calls from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to the world for further military aid in response to the deadly strikes in multiple cities over the weekend.
The first of four Iris-T defence systems from Germany has been delivered, and the advanced surface-to-air Nasams missile systems from the United States are expected to reach the war-torn nation soon.
“A new era of air defence has begun in Ukraine,” Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on social media.
“Iris-Ts from Germany are already here. Nasams are coming. This is only the beginning. And we need more.”
Possibility of Putin using nuclear weapons ‘a little closer’
Russia’s weekend attack on Ukrainian cities killed at least 19 people and injured more than 100, but the death toll could climb further as the clean-up continues.
The assault is reportedly in response to the truck bombing on the strategic Kerch bridge – which connects annexed Crimea to the Russian mainland – where President Putin claimed Ukraine’s special forces were responsible.
The Kremlin announced on Wednesday night it had arrested eight people in relation to the attack on the bridge, with Ukraine repeatedly denying involvement.
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