Zelensky: World Won’t Let Putin Use Nuclear Weapons

A view shows a residential building damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Wednesday. (REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi)

BERLIN (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday he did not believe the world would allow Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons and vowed to press on with liberating Ukrainian territory captured by Russian forces.

Zelensky was speaking to Germany’s BILD news channel in an interview published hours after the Russian President announced a partial mobilization and warned that Moscow would respond to what he called the West’s “nuclear blackmail.”

It was Russia’s first such mobilization since World War II and signified the biggest escalation of the Ukraine war since Moscow’s invasion in February.

“I don’t believe that he [Putin] will use these weapons. I don’t think the world will allow him to use these weapons,” Zelensky said, according to a text published by the newspaper.

“Tomorrow Putin can say: apart from Ukraine, we also want a part of Poland, otherwise we will use nuclear weapons. We cannot make these compromises.”

Ukraine has recaptured swathes of its territory after a lightning counteroffensive in recent weeks, inflicting mounting casualties on Russian troops.

Putin’s mobilization has come in response to Russia’s failings on the battlefield, Zelensky said.

“He sees that his units are simply running away,” Zelensky said, adding that Putin “wants to drown Ukraine in blood, including the blood of his own soldiers.”

Zelensky also brushed off plans by four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine to hold referendums on Sept. 23-27 on joining Russia, saying they were a “sham” that would not be recognized by most countries.

“We will act according to our plans step by step. I’m sure we will liberate our territory,” he said.

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