Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, said on Thursday that it was “impossible to say” whether his military’s territorial gains had raised the chance of nuclear war.
However, he is still confident that his Russian counterpart would not survive such an escalation in hostilities.
Zelenskyy was speaking at the Lowy Institute, a global think tank, via video link after Ukraine’s forces reclaimed territory Russia had illegally invaded last week.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, has threatened to use nuclear weapons without hesitation to thwart any efforts by Ukraine to retake territory that Moscow has taken.
When asked if there was a greater chance that Russia would use nuclear weapons, Zelenskyy replied, “It’s hard to say,” through an interpreter.
He questioned whether Putin had sufficient authority over the Russian offensive to order a nuclear strike.
According to Zelenskyy, the Russians “find it difficult to control everything happening in their nation, just as they cannot control what they have on the battlefield.”
Putin, according to Zelenskyy, is aware that a nuclear attack by Russia would be unforgivable to the entire world.
“He understands that after the use of nuclear weapons, he would be unable anymore to preserve, so to speak, his life, and I’m confident of that,” Zelensky said.