Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said annexed regions holding widely criticized referendums would receive protection if annexed. Using nuclear weapons in Ukraine would have “catastrophic consequences,” the United States warned. There was a third day of voting on Sunday in four eastern Ukrainian regions in which Russian forces have occupied territory by force since their invasion in February. The Russian parliament may formalize the annexation within the next few days.
The US made clear to Russia “stop the loose talk about nuclear weapons” in the Ukraine conflict after Vladimir Putin declared he would use any means to defend Russia, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken#NuclearWeapons #Ukraine #Russia #RussianArmy #UkraineRussiaWar pic.twitter.com/Tpzq4RAGBe
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The Russian annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia could be viewed as a warning to Kyiv and its Western allies to refrain from recapturing those disputed territories to portray them as Russian territory. In addition, the Russian annexation of Crimea may lead to a direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO since Ukrainian troops are armed with western weapons.
On Sunday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed that the United States would respond decisively if Russia used nuclear weapons against Ukraine and that the US had warned Moscow of the “catastrophic consequences” of using such weapons. It will be catastrophic for Russia if it crosses this line. In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, Sullivan said that the United States would respond unquestionably to the threat.
Nuclear Threat from Russia
Following last Wednesday’s thinly veiled nuclear threat from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said his country would use any means to defend its homeland, the latest US warning follows. Following his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the point more directly in a news conference.
Upon being asked if Russia could defend the annexed regions with nuclear weapons, he responded that the entire territory of Russia, including any territories that may be created in the future and enshrined in Russia’s constitution, “would be under the full protection of the state.”
As Lavrov argued in his speech, Moscow’s false claims that Kyiv’s elected government was illegally installed and filled with Nazis have served as justification for its seven-month war in Ukraine. Moreover, the Russian president has portrayed opposition to what it calls a “special military operation” as being limited to the United States and its allies, even though more than three-quarters of the UN assembly members voted to reprimand and expel Russia for its actions.
A recent battlefield defeat by Russia has prompted Moscow to mobilize a military effort after the referendums were dismissed as a sham by Ukraine and its allies. Unidentified sources in Russian news agencies have reported that the two houses of the Russian parliament could begin debate on bills to incorporate the new territory as soon as Thursday. As the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported, Putin is expected to address parliament in a joint extraordinary session on Friday.
Ukraine Claims Hit on Iranian Drone in Mykolaiv
There has been an announcement from Ukraine’s Air Force on Sunday that some of the Iranian drones-kamikaze Shahed-136, that Russia is accused of sending to the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, has been destroyed. The video showed the drones being destroyed.
Air Force Command said that the missile launched by the counter-aircraft battery “could destroy the Shahed-136 kamikaze drone that the Russian occupation forces were attempting to use in an attack on Mykolaiv.” Officials report that Iran has already supplied Russia with Shahed-136 drones, which have already been used to conduct several strikes in Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Odesa.
Earlier on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the Iranian government for delivering drones to Russian forces and announced the Iranian ambassador to Ukraine had been denied accreditation following the strikes. During an interview broadcast on Sunday, Zelenskyy also said that the Ukrainian military had received sophisticated air defense systems from the United States in exchange for the aid.
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