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Putin Spokesman Won’t Rule Out Using Nuclear Weapons In Response To ‘Existential Threat’

   DailyWire.com
BRDO PRI KRAJU, SLOVENIA - JULY 30: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) listens to his press secretary Dmitry Peskov during a visit the Russian Church marking its 100-th jubelee today in Brdo pri Kraju, Slovenia, July, 30, 2016. Vladimir Putin is having a one-day trip Slovenia.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov refused to rule out Russia deploying nuclear weapons if the government believed an “existential threat” exists.

“We have a concept of domestic security, and it’s public. You can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” Peskov said. “So if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be used in accordance with our concept.”

“There are no other reasons that were mentioned in that text,” he added.

According to Fox News, “Russian military doctrine envisions use of nuclear weapons in a first use scenario if it is losing a conventional conflict.”

“Ukraine is exactly the scenario for which this was developed,” Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA intelligence officer who specialized in Russia, said. “They fear U.S. intervention in Ukraine because they fear we are conventionally superior.”

“And if they interpret our action as offensive rather than defensive, that is when the viability of Russian statehood would be threatened, in accordance with the Russian national security concept and military doctrine,” she added.

The threat that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could spill into a nuclear war has been growing since late February, when President Putin raised his nuclear deterrent forces to an elevated alert status, citing “aggressive statements” from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and increased sanctions against his regime.

In the early days of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Putin said, “Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country.”

At the time, Putin ordered the Russian defense minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.”

“Raising the alert level of Russian nuclear forces is a bone-chilling development,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters in response.  “The prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility.”

“It’s time to stop the horror unleashed on the people of Ukraine and get on the path of diplomacy and peace,” Guterres said. “The appeals for peace must be heard. This tragedy must stop.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Linda Thomas-Greenfield responded to Russia’s latest move during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” saying, “It means that President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable and we have to continue to stem his actions in the strongest possible way.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gave a concurrent statement on CNN, saying, “This is dangerous rhetoric. This is behavior which is irresponsible. That’s the reason why we both provide support to Ukraine but also why we over the last weeks and months have significantly increased the presence of NATO in the eastern part of the alliance.”

Ian Haworth is a writer for The Daily Wire and contributor to Morning Wire. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.