Kremlin scolds West for 'provocative' nuclear rhetoric

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link in Saint Petersburg, Russia, October 10, 2022. Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Kremlin via REUTERS
  • Kremlin scolds West
  • Kremlin says no moves toward Biden meet

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Wednesday scolded Western leaders for engaging in "provocative" nuclear rhetoric after a series of warnings from Russia, the United States and NATO on the dangers of escalating the Ukraine conflict into a nuclear war.

President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 21 warned the West he was not bluffing when he said he would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia against what he said was "nuclear blackmail" from major Western powers.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who has cautioned that the world faced the biggest risk of nuclear Armageddon since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, said he doubted that Putin would use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.

"We express our daily regret that Western heads of state, in the United States and Europe, engage in nuclear rhetoric every day," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of Biden's interview to CNN.

"We consider this a very harmful and provocative practice," Peskov said.

The NATO military alliance is proceeding with its annual nuclear preparedness exercise "Steadfast Noon" next week, in which NATO air forces practise the use of U.S. nuclear bombs based in Europe with training flights, without live weapons.

Peskov said that remarks by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who said that if Putin wins the war it would be a defeat for the West, showed that NATO was essentially fighting on Ukraine's side.

Asked about the prospect of a Biden-Putin meeting, Peskov said there had been no attempt from either side to discuss a possible one.

"As far as I know, there have been no initiatives from either the Russian or the American side to organize contacts at the highest level," Peskov said.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Toby Chopra

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.