The Kremlin insists that Ukraine’s invasion ‘comes to plan’ despite rising losses as the conflict drags on

Russia will use nuclear weapons if it faces an “existential threat”, the Kremlin has said after Vladimir Putin put the nation’s nuclear arsenal on alert.

This was stated by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov CNN Tuesday: “We have a concept of homeland security, and it is public. You can read all the reasons why nuclear weapons should be used.

“So if it is an existential threat to our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept.”

Despite Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine After pulling out for almost a month with few clear results, Mr Peskov told the broadcaster that the “special military operation” “took place strictly in accordance with the plans and objectives set in advance.”

In it interview with CNN’s Christiane AmanpourSir. Peskov tried to downplay Russia’s initial hopes of overthrowing the Ukrainian government within days of the launch of the invasion, insisting: “No one would think from the beginning for a few days.”

Russia has lost about 10,000 soldiers and a large number of military assets since the invasion began 27 days ago, while economic sanctions have brought its economy to the edge of ruin.

Meanwhile, Mr Peskov also tried to minimize Russia’s good documentation attacks on civilians in Mariupol as “fake” news, claimed that Russian forces were trying to “clean up nationalist regiments” in the city. He also suggested people read intelligence reports about low morale among Russian troops must “think twice about whether it is true or not”.

The official reiterated claims that the “operation” in Ukraine was intended to “get rid of Ukraine’s military potential” and ensure that it “shifts from anti-Russian to a neutral country.”

In response to the apparent nuclear threat, US defense spokesman John Kirby called Moscow’s rhetoric “dangerous”, adding: “This is not the way a responsible nuclear power should act.”

But Mr Kirby stressed that Pentagon officials “have not seen anything that would lead us to conclude that we need to change our strategic deterrent stance.”

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Putin last month ordered that Russia’s nuclear forces be put on high alert. In line with the order, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on February 28 that its nuclear missile forces and navies in the North and Pacific Seas had been put on increased combat service.

At the time, Mr Putin said in a televised address: “No matter who tries to stand in our way … Russia will react immediately and the consequences will be like you have never seen in your entire history. . “

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has previously proposed that a global conflict between Russia and NATO would trigger a “devastating nuclear war”.

Sir. Lavrov, who served as Putin’s right-hand man during the invasion, said such a conflict would be “nuclear and destructive.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned: “The prospect of a nuclear conflict that was once unthinkable is now back within the realm of opportunity.”

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