Kremlin propagandists have ramped up calls to rain down mass death and destruction on Ukrainian civilians and cities, as Western officials made clear they would not retaliate in kind to a potential Russian nuclear strike on Ukraine, news reports on Friday, Oct. 14 said.
Top Russian Federation (RF) propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, appearing on state-controlled television on Thursday, Oct. 13 said: “Blast them [Ukraine and its people] with fire and death. So that there would be no possibility, by any means, for them to shoot [at Russia]. I couldn’t give a (expletive) about the fate of Ukrainian cities…why are we playing patty-cakes with them?…We haven’t even come close to using all the weapons we have at our disposal. If we have to, then we need to scorch the earth.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sep. 21 that if the Kremlin concludes that Russian national security is threatened, including RF territorial integrity, Russia would consider using all available weapons, including nuclear devices. “I am not bluffing,” he said.
Moscow announced on Sep. 30 that Russia had annexed Ukraine’s Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia Regions, extending the Kremlin’s theoretical nuclear umbrella over some 20,000 square km of Ukrainian land currently occupied by RF troops, and some 40,000 square km. of those four regions currently under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Russia has, in addition, asserted that the 26,000 square km that constitute Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, annexed illegally in 2014, likewise belongs to Moscow. In accordance with repeated statements made by the Kremlin, Crimea’s retention is a matter of Russian national security.
Pavel Gubarev, a pro-Russia activist in occupied Donetsk Region, released a video on Wednesday, Oct. 12, warning that a people living in regions annexed by Russia, as well as territories not yet captured by Russian troops, but claimed by the Kremlin, have the choice of accepting Moscow’s authority or dying.
“We [RF forces] aren’t coming to kill you, but to convince you,” Gubarov said. “But if you don’t want to be convinced, we’ll kill you. We’ll kill as many as we have to: one million, five million, or exterminate all of you.”
Ukraine launched a spectacular strike on Oct. 8 on the bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland, heavily damaging it. The span is heavily used by RF troops and military supply. The Kremlin said it was a Ukrainian terror attack against purely civilian infrastructure.
State-controlled Russian media on Oct. 10-11 cheered a wave of some 200 cruise missiles and kamikaze drones launched at Ukrainian urban centers and power grid infrastructure as retaliation for the Kerch Bridge devastation. Solovyov and some other RF information platforms argued the deaths and damaged caused was insufficient and that Moscow should be more brutal.
“We go at them with precision strikes, we fire 200 missiles, there are 15 people dead,” Solovyov said. “OK, fine, we’re that Russian Bear. Let every (expletive) one of them go to hell! It’s time to quit dancing around like clowns. We’re not in the circus! We’re in the [kill-or-be-killed] Taiga! ”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke Russian in interview comments published by his office on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 13 to message the Russian people and to accuse Putin and the Russian leadership of intending to use weapons of mass destruction in terror attacks against Ukrainian civilians.
“You [the Russian people] elected a person. He is threatening every one of us with nuclear weapons. He annexed [part of] Ukraine. We sanctioned him. He goes onward, he doesn’t stop, he starts threatening to use nuclear weapons,” Zelensky said. “When his subordinates, I can’t call them dogs, these puppies, they drink a shot of vodka and then start shouting about using nuclear weapons, what in the world do you call that?”
Mykhaylo Podolyak, a close advisor to Zelensky, in a Thursday statement, said repeated Russian calls to kill millions of Ukrainian people constitute intent to commit state-sponsored genocide.
“They [Russia’s leaders and people] just want to kill our people with hunger and cold. Their mentality is from the 1930s. They are thrilled when they hear about the destruction of a power station, in Kyiv of Vinnitsia or somewhere, or Kharkiv, that lets them freeze people. They want to kill,” Podolyak said.
“They aren’t trying to frighten us. They aren’t trying to make us feel like we are in a war, through death, because we are constantly sitting through air raid sirens, because we’re sitting in cellars. They want us not to have heating, electricity, drinking water this Winter, nothing. So that we die,” he said. “You need to see what they have in their eyes. They want us to die in the most horrible way possible. From hunger, from cold. They are not speaking theoretically. That is what they really want.”
Podolyak’s allegations of genocidal intent on the part of Kremlin against Ukraine came one day after French President Emmanuel Macron said in a TV interview that Paris would not use its own nuclear weapons against Russia if the Kremlin were to launch a nuclear strike on Ukraine.
Speaking on Thursday, Oct. 13, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace criticized Macron’s remarks as being harmful to collective Western strategy on containing Russia, and directly helpful to Putin’s ability to make more nuclear threats.
EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell echoed statements on Thursday, Oct. 13, that were first made by former CIA Director David Petreaus that, although the West might not retaliate with nuclear weapons, an America-led NATO would, in unison with allied nations, annihilate Russia’s army and Black Sea Fleet if the Kremlin were to carry out a nuclear strike on Ukraine.
Speaking in response to Borrell, Dmitriy Medvedev, Deputy Head of Russia’s Security Council, called Borrell’s warning irresponsible, adding “let that be on his [Borrell’s] conscience.”
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