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Five nuclear powers 'on brink of war', Russia claims - which will have 'catastrophic consequences'
2 November 2022, 21:31
The world's five nuclear powers are "on the brink" of direct armed conflict, Russia has said - warning that this would have "catastrophic consequences".
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The foreign ministry of Russia, which has been engaged in an illegal war with Ukraine since invading its neighbour in February, said "the most immediate task is to avoid any military clash" between the five nuclear powers - itself, the US, the UK, France and China.
Russia accused the Western powers, who have been supporting Ukraine with military aid, of "encouraging provocations with weapons of mass destruction."
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The Western countries have said that Russia is stirring up tension with its rhetoric - including the claim that Ukraine is preparing to use a so-called 'dirty bomb' without any evidence. Ukraine has denied the allegations.
The foreign ministry said in a statement: "We are strongly convinced that in the current complicated and turbulent situation, caused by irresponsible and impudent actions aimed at undermining our national security, the most immediate task is to avoid any military clash of nuclear powers."
They added: "We fully reaffirm our commitment to the joint statement of the five nuclear-weapon states' leaders on the prevention of nuclear war and the avoidance of an arms race from Jan. 3, 2022."
'Russia is on the back foot in Ukraine.'
Russian president Vladimir Putin has overseen massive nuclear exercises in Russia as he keeps up the sabre rattling over his atomic forces.
The Kremlin flexed its muscles by launching several ballistic and cruise missiles, simulating what it framed as 'huge nuclear strike in response to an enemy nuclear strike', earlier this week.
Colonel Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Russia’s National Defence magazine, said the drills were to practice wiping Britain and the US off the map with retaliatory attacks.
In a chilling message he warned the UK will be 'swallowed up' by the Atlantic Ocean, while the US would be turned into a 'sea strait named after Comrade Stalin'.
He told Russian state TV insisted that the 'strategic training exercise', named 'Operation Thunder', was defensive, claiming: “Who could launch a first nuclear strike on Russia? The US and the UK.”
Mr Putin himself also said in September that he was "not bluffing" when discussing the possible use of a nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Chechen leader and Putin loyalist Ramzan Kadyrov has also called for the use of a "low-yield" nuclear strike.
But Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Mr Putin would be "foolish" to use so-called tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine and warned Russia would be met with unspecified but "severe consequences".
Appearing before the Commons Defence Committee on Wednesday, Mr Wallace also rubbished unsubstantiated the Russian allegations that Ukraine was possibly producing "dirty bombs".
"The claims by Russia of the preparation of a tactical nuclear weapon by Ukraine, or indeed facilitated by the United Kingdom or any other power, is not correct and is not true," he said.
"No one is preparing or facilitating a dirty nuclear weapon, a nuclear bomb. For the United Kingdom first of all it would be abhorrent, secondly it would be against, in our view, international law and thirdly would be totally unjustifiable."