The Kremlin blasted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's "preemptive strikes" on Russia remarks from the day prior, accusing him of trying to start a world war. Zelensky had in a virtual address to Australia's Lowy Institute urged US-led allies to conducted preventative strikes on Russia so that "knows what to expect" if it used nuclear weapons.
"What should NATO do? Eliminate the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons," Zelensky said in the provocative Thursday remarks. "I once again appeal to the international community, as it was before February 24: preemptive strikes so that they [Russia] know what will happen to them if they use it, and not the other way around."
"Don’t wait for Russia’s nuclear strikes, and then say, ‘Oh, since you did this, take that from us!’ Reconsider the way you apply pressure. This is what NATO should do – reconsider the order in which it applies pressure [on Russia]," the Ukrainian leader added.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday responded by saying the statements mark "are nothing but a call to start a world war," which would result in "unforeseeable disastrous consequences."
NEW - Ukraine's Zelensky calls on NATO to launch "preemptive strikes" against Russia to "eliminate the possibility" of a Russian nuclear strike.pic.twitter.com/gj6mSRZfFF— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) October 6, 2022
And separately Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova charged Zelensky with seeking nuclear escalation:
..."every person on the planet" should recognize that the "unbalanced" Ukrainian leader had turned into "a monster, whose hands can destroy the planet", reported state-run news outlet RT.
Additionally, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday pointed out that Zelensky's remarks confirmed and justified the need for Russia to pacify Ukraine. Referencing the request for a NATO preemptive attack on Russia, Lavrov explained, "By doing so, (he) essentially presented the world with further evidence of the threats posed by the Kyiv regime," adding that "This is why a special military operation was launched to neutralize them."
President Biden last month in a CBS "60 Minutes" interview warned Putin to not "change the face of war" by employing either tactical nuclear or chemical weapons against Ukraine. But more recently and importantly, on the same day as Zelensky's call for a preemptive strike, Biden said that the threat of nuclear "Armageddon" is at its highest level since the Cuban missile crisis, and that the US is trying to find an "off-ramp" for Russia before they begin the use of tactical nuclear weapons.
"We’re trying to figure out what is Putin’s off-ramp? Where does he get off? Where does he find a way out?" Biden said at a Thursday fundraiser in New York City for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at the New York home of James Murdoch, the son of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch. "Where does he find himself in a position that he does not, not only lose face but lose significant power in Russia?"
"He is not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological and chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming," Biden added, according to Bloomberg. "I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily use tactical nuclear weapons and not end up with Armageddon."
4ever respect to Zelensky for sinking his Nobel Peace Prize by calling for a preemptive nuclear holocaust on the eve of the announcement 💪— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) October 7, 2022
Following all of this, Zelensky’s office attempted an awkward walk-back, issued a statement seeking to clarify that he...
"did not call on NATO countries to pre-emptively use nuclear weapons against the Russian Federation — he spoke about the period before the start of a full-scale invasion."
"Colleagues, you have gone a little far with your nuclear hysteria and now you hear nuclear strikes even where there are none," Zelensky's press secretary Serhiy Nikiforov said. "The President spoke about the period until February 24. Then it was necessary to take preventive measures to prevent Russia from starting a war. Let me remind you that the only measures discussed at that time were preventive sanctions."
International headlines warning about nuclear Armageddon have been on the rise over the last month, especially as Ukrainian forces began making rapid gains against Russian front lines in the east and south. The thinking among Western pundits tends to be that the more Moscow feels cornered and is losing ground in its "special operation" - the more unpredictable and desperate Putin's decision-making grows, leading to the possibility of a tactical nuke or other WMD deployment in Ukraine.