Dmitry Polyanskiy, the Russian deputy ambassador to the UN has stated that Moscow has the right to use nuclear weapons if it is ‘provoked’ by NATO.
The top Russian diplomat made the chilling warning after Vladimir Putin’s spokesman refused to rule out nuking Ukraine in the face of an ‘existential threat’.
Asked if Putin was right to hold the prospect of nuclear war over the rest of the world, Mr Polyanskiy told Sky News:
‘If Russia is provoked by Nato, if Russia is attacked by Nato, why not, we are a nuclear power.
‘I don’t think it’s the right thing to be saying. But it’s not the right thing to threaten Russia, and to try to interfere.
‘So when you’re dealing with a nuclear power, of course, you have to calculate all the possible outcomes of your behaviour.’
Polyanskiy spoke from inside Russia’s mission to the UN in New York, where pictures of President Putin adorn the walls.
He dismissed the formal declaration by the US government that members of the Russian armed forces are guilty of war crimes in Ukraine.
Between sips of lemon tea he suggested footage showing Ukraine’s cities reduced to rubble due to Russian bombing could be fake. He also claimed that Ukraine is attacking its own buildings and civilians.
‘You believe one thing, I believe another thing’