Putin 'makes chilling Hiroshima nuclear threat' during call with Macron

6 November 2022, 09:09

Putin is understood to have made the remarks to Emmanuel Macron
Putin is understood to have made the remarks to Emmanuel Macron. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a chilling threat referencing the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during a conversation with France's Emmanuel Macron.

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The tyrant alarmed Western leaders after saying the 1945 atom bomb was proof "you don't have to launch nuclear strike on a major city to win a war", diplomatic sources said.

It comes amid growing concerns that he will use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine after overseeing massive nuclear exercises in Russia.

The US detonated two atomic bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, killing between 129,000 and 226,000 people.

Japan surrendered to the Allies on August 15.

Read more: Russian troops are threatening to 'shoot their own soldiers' if they run away, with Putin's army set to withdraw from Kherson

Read more: Ukraine’s cities plunged into darkness as Putin targets country’s energy network

Putin has caused concerns he will use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine
Putin has caused concerns he will use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine. Picture: Alamy

"Macron was distinctly alarmed," a source said.

"It sounded like a very heavy hint that Putin might detonate a tactical nuclear weapon in the east of Ukraine, while leaving Kyiv intact.

"That appeared to be the thrust of his remarks."

A French government source told the Mail on Sunday: "The two presidents have undoubtedly discussed the risk of nuclear weapons use.

"Putin wants to get the message across that all options are on the table, in line with Russian doctrine relating to nuclear weapons."

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife. Picture: Alamy

Putin previously warned that if Western forces endangered the "integrity" of Russian territory then he would "certainly use all the means at our disposal".

Speaking in September, he said: "Our country also has various high-impact weapons, in some ways more powerful than those of Nato countries and in case of a threat against our country's territorial integrity, we will certainly use all means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff."

He went on to say in an interview a month later that France would "evidently" not use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack on Ukraine.

However, former British PM Boris Johnson remains convinced that Putin would not go as far as to use the weapons due to the consequences Russia will face on the global stage.

"I don't think he will, he'd be crazy to do so," Mr Johnson told Sky.

He said it would mean Putin "would immediately tender Russia's resignation from the club of civilised nations", adding that it will be a "total disaster" for the country.