In an interview with CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Dmitry Peskov repeatedly refused to rule out that Russia would consider using nuclear weapons against what Moscow considers an “existential threat.” When asked under what conditions Putin would use Russia’s nuclear potential, Peskov replied: “If this is an existential threat to our country, then maybe.”
The United States condemned Peskov’s “dangerous” comments. “This is not how a responsible nuclear power should operate,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Tuesday.
When asked what Putin, in his opinion, has already achieved in Ukraine, Peskov replied: “Well, first of all, not yet. I haven’t achieved it yet.”
The spokesman also said the “special military operation” — the Kremlin’s official euphemism for the Russian invasion of Ukraine — was “carried out strictly in accordance with predetermined plans and objectives.”
Peskov also reiterated Putin’s demands, stating that the “main goals of the operation” are “to get rid of Ukraine’s military potential”, to ensure the status of Ukraine as a “neutral country”, to get rid of “nationalist battalions”, for Ukraine to recognize that Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014 , is part of Russia, and recognize that the breakaway states of Lugansk and Donetsk “are already independent states.”
He also said that Russia had only hit military targets, despite numerous reports of Russian airstrikes on civilian targets sheltering ordinary Ukrainians.
The interview comes after Western intelligence reports that Russian operations in parts of Ukraine have stalled.