President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that the world should “prepare” for Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s use of nuclear weapons in the invasion of Ukraine – and called for air-raid shelters and anti-radiation medicine to be prepared for a potential catastrophe.
In an interview on Sunday with CNN, Zelensky was asked if Putin would deploy tactical chemical or nuclear weapons to pursue his military goals in Ukraine.
“Not only me – the whole world, all countries have to worry because it may be false information, but it may be true,” Zelenskiy told host Jake Tapper in an interview from his presidential office in Kiev.
“Chemical weapons, they should have done it, they could have done it, human life for them, nothing. That is why, ”said Zelenskiy. “We should think, not be afraid, not be afraid, but be ready. But this is not a question for Ukraine, not only for Ukraine, but for the whole world, I believe. “
In an interview with Ukrainian media on Saturday evening, Zelenskiy warned against the real possibility of a nuclear attack.
“We should not wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons …… We have to prepare for that,” said the Ukrainian leader.
“Anti-radiation medicine and air-raid shelters would be needed,” he said, pointing out that Russia “can use any weapon, I am convinced of it.”
The Russian military experienced many setbacks, including the need to withdraw from the vicinity of Kiev and its suburbs due to fierce fighting by Ukrainian forces.
Following its retreat, Russia lost its most powerful warship, the Moscow missile cruiser, when it sank in the Black Sea last week after being hit by a Ukrainian missile attack.
CIA director William Burns said last week that a desperate Putin, seeing his forces suffer heavy losses at the hands of the Ukrainians, could resort to the use of nuclear weapons.
“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and Russian leaders, given the complications they have faced so far, none of us can underestimate the threat posed by a potential recourse to tactical nuclear or low-capacity nuclear weapons, – Burns said in a speech last Thursday at Georgia Tech University.
Russian forces that have withdrawn from Kiev have regrouped and are preparing for a full-scale attack in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed militias have been supporting separatist groups since the 2014 invasion of Crimea.
Zelenskiy said that a fight, which may resemble the open field battles of World War II, could “affect” the entire fight for Ukraine, and vowed that his forces would not succumb.
“So it is very important to us that we do not let them stay where they are, because this battle … could affect the course of the entire war,” Zelensky told CNN.
“Because I don’t trust the Russian military and the Russian leadership. Therefore, we understand that the fact that we pushed them away and left, and they fled Kiev – from the north, from Chernihiv and that direction – does not mean that they are able to capture Donbass, they will not go further towards Kiev, ”he said.