Responding to a speech by former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, a top Russian politician has warned that parts of Europe could “disappear” in a nuclear strike.
Sikorski, who is now a member of the European Parliament, has suggested that NATO should supply Ukraine with nuclear warheads.
He told Ukrainian news channel Espreso TV that the West should have the right to give Ukraine nuclear warheads, if that’s what it takes to protect its independence
But in an angry response Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of Russia's State Duma, warned that if Western governments gave Kyiv nuclear weapons, it would lead to a nuclear war in the heart of Europe and Poland and Ukraine could “disappear".
During the Soviet era, nuclear missiles were sited in Ukraine but they were all removed under the terms of a 1994 treaty. The Budapest Memorandum said that no country could use nuclear weapons against Ukraine "except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations."
According to Sikorski, Russia has now “violated the memorandum” and so it’s legitimate for the West to give Ukraine what he calls “the opportunity to defend its independence”.
Reacting on his Telegram channel, Volodin wrote that Europe would soon have “much more serious problems” than the current financial, energy and refugee crises.
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"Sikorski provokes a nuclear conflict in the centre of Europe,” Volodin said.
“He does not think about the future of either Ukraine or Poland. If his proposals are implemented, these countries will disappear, as well as Europe. [Sikorski] needs to be examined by a psychiatrist, pass the mandate and stay at home under supervision.
"It is because of people like Sikorski that it is necessary to liberate Ukraine not only from the Nazi ideology, but also to demilitarise it, ensuring the country's non-nuclear status”.
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The biggest battle in Ukraine right now is over the city of Severodonetsk. The three bridges out of the city have all been destroyed, leaving Ukrainian fighters and civilians effectively trapped.
Russian forces, using massive artillery and missile strikes, have pushed Ukrainian troops back from the centre of the city, but the two sides are fighting bitterly for “literally every metre”
President Zelenskyy has begged western leaders for anti-missile defence systems, saying that over 2,500 Russian cruise missiles had been fired at Ukraine since the start of the war.
But even in the face of overwhelming Russian firepower, Zelenskyy is defiant. He says Moscow is sending huge numbers of inexperienced and poorly trained “cannon fodder” troops into battle in a bid to overwhelm Ukraine’s defences with sheer numbers.
“Russian generals see their people simply as the cannon fodder, they need to gain an advantage in numbers,” Zelenskyy said.
By the end of the month, he added, Russia will have lost 40,000 men.
He said: “In no other war in many decades have they lost so much”.
Russia has warned the West that supplying the Ukrainians with the means to defend themselves is making the war last longer.
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