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Zelensky's staff forced to clarify statement after president suggests 'preemptive strike' on Russia
President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his speech on Oct. 6, said NATO's role was to make it impossible for Russia to use nuclear weapons. He appealed to the international community "before Feb. 24, to do preemptive strikes, so they know what will happen to them if they use it, and not vice versa - to wait for nuclear strikes by Russia."
Russia's top officials, including Russia's Foreign Minister spokeswoman Maria Zakharova and Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, accused Zelensky of calling for a nuclear war.
Serhii Nykyforov, Zelensky's spokesperson, explained that Zelensky was referring to preventive sanctions to be applied before Russia's full-scale invasion and assured that Ukraine would never call for the use of nuclear weapons.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the President's Office, said that Zelensky reminded listeners of Russia's nuclear blackmail and offered the world to preemptively outline the consequences for Russia and intensify strikes against Russia, including sanctions and military aid.
Russian President Vladimir Putin began to use nuclear blackmail in an attempt to slow down Ukraine's counteroffensive.
"When its territorial integrity is threatened, Russia will use everything it can, this is not a bluff," Putin said on Sept. 21, hinting at the use of nuclear arms.