A Kremlin propagandist with close ties to Vladimir Putin has warned that nuclear war is “unavoidable” as Russia continues to threaten NATO and the world with its nuclear arsenal.
While Putin’s mouthpiece Vladimir Solovyov – who hosts a show on Russian state TV – warned that nuclear war was coming, he optimistically added that it would not lead to humanity’s collapse.
In what could be seen as a foreboding warning to Ukraine, he said that the use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear country would likely not lead to widespread death and destruction.
Russia is believed to have taken as many as 300,000 casualties – wounded and killed – in Ukraine in what has become an attritional war with high death tolls on both sides.
Speaking to panellists last week, Solovyov called nuclear war “unavoidable”. He added: “It will happen, no doubt about it.”
Another panellist tried to temper the discussion, arguing that Russia should make sure that nuclear war does not occur. Solovyov disagreed.
He said: “Nuclear war is the means for something. It’s strange to fight over the means; a nuclear war fulfills a certain goal. Not every nuclear war leads to destruction.”
Solovyov added: “We already had a nuclear war. Two nuclear bombs were dropped on the territory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.”
When a co-panellist argued that this wasn’t a nuclear war in a wider sense, Solovyov asked: “Why not?”
He added: “If nukes are used against a non-nuclear nation, it won’t lead to the nuclear collapse of humanity. Everyone in the military studies the use of tactical nuclear weapons – they know…and they understand how and where [they can be used].”
The chilling comments raise the spectre of nuclear weapons being used in Ukraine. Kyiv has no such weapons of its own, although it’s unclear how NATO would respond to the first-ever nuclear strike in Europe.
This isn’t the first time Solovyov has warned the West about nuclear war. Other leading Russian voices including ex-president Dmitri Medvedev regularly threaten NATO and the world with Russia’s nuclear capabilities.
Russia is believed to have just under 6,000 nuclear warheads – the largest stockpile in the world, although the US is not far behind.