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President Volodymyr Zelensky's Chief of Staff, Andrii Yermak, told reporters on July 14 that there is always a threat of Russia using nuclear weapons to stop Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive, but it's not high at the moment.
Yermak's statement comes a day after U.S. President Joe Biden said there was no real possibility of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin using nuclear weapons against Ukraine or the West.
Moscow has stepped up its nuclear threats against Kyiv and its allies in recent weeks as the West has increased its military aid to Ukraine.
On July 13, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin would see the potential provision of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine as a "nuclear threat" as these planes can carry nuclear warheads.
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev threatened nuclear facilities in Ukraine and other Eastern European countries with Russian strikes, claiming that increased NATO support for Ukraine could lead to World War III.
At the same time, Russian forces continue to mine the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in preparation for a possible sabotage attack, according to Ukraine's military intelligence.
In the same conversation with Ukrainian journalists on July 14, Yermak said nuclear threats at the Zaporizhzhia plant would remain as long as Russian troops stay on the premises.
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has been under Russian occupation since March 2022. Since then, Russian forces have used Europe's largest nuclear power plant as a military base to launch attacks against Ukrainian-controlled territory.