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Russia has said it would only resort to using nuclear weapons if faced with an 'existential threat'.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that his country's nuclear doctrine remained consistent, but failed to rule out the use of nuclear weapons entirely, and could not clarify what would constitute an 'existential threat'.
"We have a concept of domestic security, and it's public. You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used," Peskov said. "So if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept."
President Putin has raised the threat of using nuclear weapons – and his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov refused to rule out their use, in an interview with me tonight. pic.twitter.com/uxQqncLGYN— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) March 22, 2022
Peskov's words come after comments made by Putin – in which he appeared to threaten the use of nuclear weapons should NATO get involved in the war in Ukraine – once again raised the spectre of nuclear warfare.
In a speech given in the days after Russia's invasion, Putin warned NATO against 'standing in the way' of his plans, hinting at the possible use of nuclear weapons by warning of 'consequences such as you have never seen in your entire history'.
Days later, he announced he was ordered his country's nuclear deterrent forces to be placed on high alert, in a move that was widely seen as a threat against the United States and the west.
Speaking to CNN, Peskov appeared to suggest that Putin's moves had been an attempt to send a message to the international community.
"President Putin intends to make the world listen to and understand our concerns," he said. "We've been trying to convey our concerns to the world – to Europe, to the United States – for a couple of decades but no one would listen to us."
Responding to Peskov's remarks, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby described Russia's approach as 'dangerous', adding that speculating over the possible use of nuclear weapons was 'not the way a responsible nuclear power should act'.
Elsewhere in the interview, Peskov also appeared to concede that Russia had not yet achieved its military objectives in Ukraine, but said that what the Kremlin terms a 'special military operation' would continue to work towards its aims.
"[Putin] hasn't achieved yet," he said, adding that the operation was 'going on strictly in accordance with the plans and the purposes that were established beforehand'.
Intelligence reports suggest Russian forces are being held in near stalemate conditions as Ukraine marks one month since the invasion.
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