You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Putin places nuclear umbrella over annexed Ukraine regions

The Independent logo The Independent 19/10/2022 Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Moment Russian jet crashes into residential building in Yeysk
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Regions of Ukraine recently illegally annexed by Russia are under the protection of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal, the Kremlin has claimed.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “all these territories are inalienable parts of the Russian Federation”, and as such were “protected”.

“Their security is provided for at the same level as the rest of Russia’s territory,” he added.

Nato is conducting annual nuclear exercises this week and has said it expects Russia to hold its own nuclear drills imminently.

Just last month, Vladimir Putin threatened the West as he said Moscow was ready to use nuclear weapons if necessary to defend the “territorial integrity” of Russia, insisting that he was “not bluffing”.

Nato is conducting nuclear preparedness exercises this week and has said it expects Russia to hold its own nuclear drills imminently (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service) © Provided by The Independent Nato is conducting nuclear preparedness exercises this week and has said it expects Russia to hold its own nuclear drills imminently (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

US president Joe Biden said that Putin’s threat had brought the world closer to “Armageddon” than any time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many feared a nuclear war might be imminent.

Although Putin proclaimed that the territories Moscow was taking from Ukraine would be part of Russia “for ever”, Russia does not wholly control any of the four regions and has yet to define their borders.

Putin proclaimed that the territories Moscow was taking from Ukraine would be part of Russia “for ever” (via REUTERS) © Provided by The Independent Putin proclaimed that the territories Moscow was taking from Ukraine would be part of Russia “for ever” (via REUTERS)

The annexation was condemned as illegal by Ukraine, its Western allies and an overwhelming majority of countries in the United Nations General Assembly.

Nearly eight months into his invasion of Ukraine, some analysts believe the likelihood of Putin resorting to nuclear weapons has increased since his army suffered a series of major defeats.

Putin’s ally Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, warned the West last week against backing Russia into a corner.

Other analysts have argued the nuclear risk is overstated, suggesting it would be suicidal for Putin to embark on such an escalation.

From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Independent

The Independent
The Independent
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon