Russia Says Zelensky’s ‘Preventive Strike’ Comments Justify Its Ukraine ‘Special Operation’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

(Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that remarks by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky suggesting NATO should launch preventive strikes on Russia confirmed the need for what it calls its “special operation” in Ukraine.

“By doing so, [he] essentially presented the world with further evidence of the threats posed by the Kyiv regime,” Lavrov said. “This is why a special military operation was launched to neutralize them.”

In a discussion with an Australian think tank on Thursday, Zelensky said he believed strikes were necessary to preclude any use of nuclear weapons.

He did not go into detail about what kind of strikes he meant, and made no reference to any need for nuclear strikes.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced Zelensky’s comments as “an appeal to start yet another world war with unpredictable, monstrous consequences,” according to RIA news agency.

Russia launched its “special military operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its neighbor. Ukraine and Western nations have dismissed this as a baseless pretext for invasion.

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