On Wednesday night, the editor of the Russian state broadcaster RT blithely discussed the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin would initiate a nuclear war, telling viewers, “We will go to heaven, while they will simply croak.”
Margarita Simonyan told her television audience her opinion of what might happen next in the Russia-Ukraine war: “Either we lose in Ukraine or the Third World War starts. I think World War Three is more realistic, knowing us, knowing our leader. … The most incredible outcome, that all this will end with a nuclear strike, seems more probable to me than the other course of events,” The Daily Mail reported.
Addressing a panel on the show, she continued, “This is to my horror on one hand, but on the other hand, it is what it is. We will go to heaven, while they will simply croak… We’re all going to die someday.”
Simonyan’s rhetoric came the day after foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was asked on Russian state TV whether he could compare the tension between Russia and the West to the Cuban missile crisis during the Cold War. Lavrov answered, “The risk is serious, real. It should not be underestimated. Under no circumstances should a third world war be allowed to happen.”
“There can be no winners in a nuclear war,” he continued, then mentioned NATO weapons shipments to Ukraine as he added, “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba responded by writing on Twitter, “Russia loses last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine. Thus the talk of a ‘real’ danger of WWIII. This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine. Therefore, the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security.”
Putin himself told legislators in St. Petersburg, “If someone intends to interfere in what is going on from the outside they must know that constitutes an unacceptable strategic threat to Russia. … They must know that our response to counter strikes will be lightning fast. Fast. We have all the weapons we need for this. No one else can brag about these weapons, and we won’t brag about them. But we will use them.”
““Russia conducted its first test of the Sarmat, an intercontinental ballistic missile that carries a heavy nuclear payload, on April 20. Vladimir Putin and his advisers have issued nuclear warnings throughout the war in Ukraine, threatening the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization with attack if they escalate their involvement,” The Wall Street Journal noted on Wednesday.