In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday, Dmitry Peskov repeatedly refused to rule out that Russia would consider using nuclear weapons against what Moscow saw as an “existential threat.” When asked under what conditions Putin would use Russia’s nuclear capability, Peskov replied, “if it is an existential threat to our country, then so be it.”
Asked what Putin thought he had achieved in Ukraine so far, Peskov replied: “Well, first of all, not yet. He has not achieved yet.”
The spokesman also claimed that the “special military operation” – the Kremlin’s official euphemism for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – “took place strictly in accordance with the plans and objectives set in advance.”
Peskov also reiterated Putin’s demands, saying that “the main objectives of the operation” are to “get rid of Ukraine’s military potential”, to ensure that Ukraine is a “neutral country”, to get rid of “nationalist battalions” for Ukraine . to accept that Crimea – annexed by Russia in 2014 – is part of Russia and to accept that the breakaway states of Luhansk and Donetsk “are already independent states.”
He also claimed that Russia has only attacked military targets, despite numerous reports of Russian airstrikes against civilian targets protecting ordinary Ukrainians.
The interview comes as Western intelligence services have reported that Russia’s operations have stalled in parts of Ukraine.