The world should brace itself for the possibility of Vladimir Putin using nuclear weapons in his war against Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned.
He has urged countries to stock up on radiation protection and build air raid shelters because “Russia could use any weapon”.
The chilling warning came during an appeal for the West to arm its country after seven weeks of brutal fighting.
“Chemical weapons, they should do it, they could do it, for them people’s lives, nothing,” he told CNN.
“We should remember not to be afraid, not to be afraid, but to be ready. But this is not a question for Ukraine, not only for Ukraine, but for the whole world, I think.”
Speaking to Ukrainian media, he added that countries should prepare for the worst-case scenario.
The war leader said: “We should not wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons. We have to prepare for that.”
Ukrainian officials estimate that 2,500 to 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died since Putin first invaded the country in February.
This compares to Russia’s 19,000 to 20,000 casualties, although these numbers have not been independently verified.
There are about 10,000 soldiers struggling with injuries, but it’s “hard to say how many will survive,” Zelensky said.
He also wasn’t sure of the total civilian death toll after mass graves were found near Kyiv.
“It is very difficult to talk about civilians, since the south of our country, where the cities and towns are blocked – Kherson, Berdyansk, Mariupol further east, and the area in the east where Volnovakha is located – we just do not know how many people died in this restricted area,” said the President.
Russia has repeatedly refused in the past month to rule out the possibility that it could use nuclear weapons.
Putin’s chief secretary, Dmitry Peskov, suggested they could be considered if there was an “existential threat to our country.”
The Russian president also hinted that he could take that step in a televised statement in February.
He said: “No matter who tries to stand in our way or create even more threats to our country and our people, they must know that Russia will react immediately and the consequences will be as you see them in.” Your whole never seen history.’
But Boris Johnson previously rebuffed threats as Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrents were placed on high alert.
In February, he described the move as “a distraction from the reality of what’s going on in Ukraine.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/04/17/volodymyr-zelensky-says-world-must-prepare-for-russian-nuclear-attack-16481924/ Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the world must prepare for a Russian nuclear attack