Sir Andrew, a former UK ambassador to Russia has slapped down the Kremlin amid NATO reports of a planned Russian nuclear weapons test. The use of a tactical nuke on the border of Ukraine is feared as Vladimir Putin looks increasingly desperate while Ukraine continues to claw back lost territory.
Sky News’s Kay Burley told the former ambassador: “We are hearing that NATO is warning its members that President Putin is preparing to conduct what has been described as a tactical nuclear test on Ukraine’s borders.”
She asked: “Do you think he would do that?
“I think it’d be enormously foolish. I can’t think myself see what targets he could hit with nuclear weapons, even qoute ‘tactical’ which are actually pretty powerful and horrible,” replied Sir Andrew
“He would be hitting Ukraine after all, he would be hitting his own troops, and he would be raising a good deal of alarm in Russia itself.”
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“It is not just us that wouldn’t welcome it to put it mildly.
“But it’s possible in desperation you will doing something like that.”
Burley asked: “I just wonder what sort of what reaction could be expected from the west if that’s what he does, given that it’s on the border and potentially within Russia, as opposed to in Ukraine?”
Sir Andrew said: “I think that it would not be a nuclear reaction. That would depend if of course, he attacked Britain or something like that there would be a nuclear reaction.”
“But I don’t think he would do that,” he added.
“I suppose it would be mostly to demonstrate he could do this if he wanted to.”
Sir Andrew Wood discusses Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats
It comes as the Ukrainian armed forces advanced up to 20 km beyond the Oskil river in the northeastern Kharkiv region into Russia’s defensive zone towards the town of Svatove in Luhansk region, Britain said on Wednesday.
“Politically, Russian leaders will highly likely be concerned that leading Ukrainian units are now approaching the borders of Luhansk Oblast, which Russia claimed to have formally annexed last Friday,” the British Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence bulletin.
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The intelligence update added that it was highly likely that Ukraine could now strike the Svatove-Kremina road in Luhansk region and added that Ukraine continued to make progress in its operations in the southern front as well.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine’s military had made major, rapid advances against Russian forces in the past week, taking back dozens of towns in regions in the south and east that Russia has declared annexed.
“This week alone, since the Russian pseudo-referendum, dozens of population centres have been liberated. These are in Kherson, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions all together,” he said in a Tuesday night address.
Russia moved to annex those regions after holding what it called referendums over several days from September 23, votes that were denounced by Kyiv and Western governments as illegal and coercive.