Russia won't use nuclear weapons, says ambassador

Andrei Kelin, Russia

© APA | Andrei Kelin, Russia's ambassador in Britain

# 29 May 2022 05:21 (UTC +04:00)

Russia's ambassador in Britain has told the BBC he does not believe his country will use tactical nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine, APA reports.

Andrei Kelin said that according to Russian military rules, such weapons are not used in conflicts like this one.

Russia has very strict provision for their use, he said, mainly when the state's existence is threatened.

"It has nothing to do with the current operation," he told Sunday Morning.

When Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert in late February, soon after the invasion, it was widely perceived as a warning.

Mr Putin blamed the development on aggression by the West and Nato. But the UK's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace branded it an attempt to distract people from "what's going wrong in Ukraine", saying Russia was behind schedule on its invasion after just a few days, and trying to "remind the world" it had a deterrent.

Tactical nuclear weapons are those which can be used at relatively short distances, as opposed to "strategic" nuclear weapons which can be launched over much longer distances and raise the spectre of all-out nuclear war.

But the term still includes many types of weapon, including smaller bombs and missiles used on a battlefield. Russia is thought to have about 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons