The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is walking back remarks made by the president on October 6, in which he said that NATO’s role is to make it impossible for Russia to use nuclear weapons.
In remarks at a teleconference with an Australian think tank, Zelensky appealed to the Western military alliance to launch “preemptive strikes” against Russia. His remarks were widely condemned on social media as escalatory and threatened to provoke severe consequences for all parties involved – not just Russia and Ukraine.
Russian spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the Ukrainian head of state of threatening nuclear war.
As reported by Rebel News, Zelensky said that the international community “before Feb. 24, to do preemptive strikes, so they know what will happen to them if they use it, and not vice versa - to wait for nuclear strikes by Russia.”
“Preemptive strikes are needed so that they know what awaits them if they use nuclear weapons. Not the other way around, waiting for Russia's nuclear strikes and then saying, 'oh, you've done that, then get this,’” Zelensky said.
Serhii Nykyforov, Zelensky’s spokesman walked back the president’s remarks to clarify that Zelensky was only referring to preventative sanctions ahead of Russia’s planned full-scale invasion, which is currently in the works following its annexation of several regions in Ukraine.
The spokesman assured the press that Ukraine would never call for the use of nuclear weapons, the Kyiv Independent reported.