Russia will only use nuclear weapons in exceptional circumstances and for defensive purposes, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press conference on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Thursday.
“Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy is very defensive,” she said. It is clear that the hypothetical use of nuclear weapons is limited to exceptional circumstances within the framework of strict defense objectives.
Zakharova noted that Moscow is fully committed to the principle of inadmissibility of nuclear war.
“There can be no winners in it. It cannot be started. We consistently call on all parties to issue a joint statement by the leaders of the five nuclear states on the unacceptable prevention of nuclear war and arms race, and to comply with this assumption.
At the same time, it did not rule out that Russia’s decision to suspend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) could be reversed.
“If Washington shows the political will and makes efforts to defuse tensions and create conditions for the full return of the agreement,” TASS quoted Zakharova as saying.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on February 21 that Moscow would suspend its participation in the New START treaty, but it did not fully withdraw.
Putin stressed that before being able to return to discuss further operations of the treaty, Russia wants to understand how this document will take into account the arsenal of not only the United States, but also the other NATO nuclear powers, namely Britain and France.
On March 1, Putin signed a law suspending Russia’s participation in New START.