A DIRECT threat exists that Russia could use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the country’s top general has said.
In a chilling warning, General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi said Vladimir Putin’s order to use nukes could then take us to the brink of World War 3.
With Russia unable to defeat Ukraine using conventional weapons and now being pushed back in the war, fears have been mounting Putin could use nuclear weapons to turn the tide on the battlefield.
In a rare public statement, Zaluzhnyi used an article written with a Ukrainian MP to outline his concerns in stark terms.
"There is a direct threat of the use, under certain circumstances, of tactical nuclear weapons by the Russian Armed forces," Zaluzhnyi said.
"It is also impossible to completely rule out the possibility of the direct involvement of the world's leading countries in a 'limited' nuclear conflict, in which the prospect of World War Three is already directly visible.”
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The general said the West needed to send a warning to the Kremlin that it faces retaliation if nuclear weapons are used.
"Any Russian attempts at practical steps in the use of tactical nuclear weapons must be pre-empted by employing the entire arsenal of means at the disposal of world powers.
"After all, starting from this moment, the Russian Federation will become not only a threat to the peaceful coexistence of Ukraine, its neighbours, and a number of European countries but also a truly global-scale terrorist state.”
Zaluzhnyi’s warning about the threat of Russia using nuclear weapons follows that of retired British general Sir Richard Barrons.
Sir Richard warned Putin is "likely" to use tactical nuclear weapons if he faces being driven back in Ukraine.
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The decorated commander explained that the Russian doctrine accepts the use of small nuclear weapons as a means of "coercion".
"It would be the first use of nuclear weapons for 77 years, breaking an enormous taboo, but this is not inconceivable to Russians if the ends justify it in their eyes," he wrote in The Sunday Times in August.
Zaluzhnyi also revealed Ukraine has recaptured more than 270 sq miles of its territory in the east and south during a lightning counteroffensive.
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The gains, if confirmed and held, would be a serious blow for Russia, which Western intelligence services say has suffered huge casualties.
They would also represent a big boost for Kyiv, which is keen to show its Western backers that it can change the facts on the ground by force and deserves continued support.
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