Minister warns of 'possibility' Russia will use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine

10 March 2022, 14:09

By Emma Soteriou

Armed forces minister James Heappey has told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr that there is a "small possibility" Russia will use tactical nuclear weapons inside Ukraine.

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"It is a possibility but it is a very small possibility, even at this stage," Mr Heappey told Andrew.

"Unfortunately, the Russians have the capacity to inflict huge misery on the populations that remain inside the cities they besiege with the conventional weapons that are in their arsenal.

"There are some really horrid things."

It came after Andrew told Mr Heappey that he had been speaking to one Russian observer who said the danger could come "as [Putin] becomes more angry and more frustrated about the lack of progress of his army".

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"This thing they call the flamethrower, which is a thermobaric weapon, is just capable of inflicting incredible damage," Mr Heappey went on to say.

"So, there are things that we are more worried about than tactical nuclear weapons at this stage because the harder Ukrainians resist, the more likely Russia is to resort to overwhelming violence.

"But at the same time, there is also this reality that the agenda Russia has here is to occupy Ukraine, change Government, presumably remain in occupation in certain parts of Russia, but thereafter it doesn't want Ukraine to be a draw on the wider Russian economy.

"The more damage they do, the more they've got to repair."

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"Do you think they're thinking about that at all?" Andrew asked.

Mr Heappey said: "I fear that Putin is now all in on this and victory is what is required.

"Outright victory feels increasingly unlikely but, unfortunately, the more Zelenskyy rallies his nation, and the more the West rallies behind them, the more Russia gets fought to a standstill and resorts to some really horrible stuff."

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