The Kremlin has dismissed NATO’s claim Vladimir Putin wants to show his willingness to use weapons of mass destruction by carrying out a nuclear test on Ukraine’s border. NATO reportedly warned its members Moscow was set to order a test. Fears rose on Monday amid claims a train run by Russia’s secretive nuclear division was heading towards Ukraine.
Poland based analyst Konrad Muzyka claimed the train, which was spotted in central Russia, was linked to the 12th Main Directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defence “responsible for nuclear munitions, their storage, maintenance, transport, and issuance to units”.
The Kremlin dismissed the report today (October 4), saying it did not want to take part in nuclear rhetoric spread by the West.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The Western media, Western politicians and heads of state are engaging in a lot of exercises in nuclear rhetoric right now. We do not want to take part in this.”
His remarks also come after Italian daily La Repubblica reported on Sunday that NATO had sent its members an intelligence report on the movements of the Belgorod nuclear submarine.
In their biggest breakthrough in the south since the war began on February 24, Ukrainian forces have recaptured several villages in an advance along the strategic Dnipro River.
Kyiv’s forces in the south destroyed 31 Russian tanks and one multiple rocket launcher, the military’s southern operational command said in a nightly update.
The southern breakthrough mirrors recent Ukrainian advances in the east even as Russia tried to raise the stakes by annexing land, ordering the mobilisation and threatening nuclear retaliation.
Ukraine’s advance in the south threatens supply lines for as many as 25,000 Russian troops on the Dnipro’s west bank. Ukraine’s forces have already destroyed the river’s main bridges and forced Russian troops to use makeshift crossings.
A substantial advance down river could cut them off entirely.
In the east, Ukrainian forces have been advancing after capturing Lyman, the main Russian bastion in the north of Donetsk province.
The pro-Russian leader in Donetsk said forces were forming a new defensive line around the town of Kreminna.
It comes as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky his country is ready to contribute to peace efforts in the ongoing conflict.
The Indian PM’s office said in a statement after a telephone conversation between Mr Modi and Mr Zelensky: “He expressed his firm conviction that there can be no military solution to the conflict and conveyed India’s readiness to contribute to any peace efforts.”
It added: “[The] Prime Minister emphasized the importance India attaches to the safety and security of nuclear installations, including in Ukraine.”
The move points to New Delhi articulating a more robust position against the Ukraine war to counter criticism it is soft on Russia.
India still has neither held Moscow responsible for the invasion nor changed its position on importing cheap Russian oil and coal.