- Ilya Kiva, a pro-Russia Ukrainian MP, called on Putin to use WMDs on his country
- Kiva said ‘pre-emptive strike’ is only way to end Ukraine was and Western threats
- He spoke after Zelensky warned the world must be ready for Russia to use nukes
- CIA has also issued warning that a ‘desperate’ Putin could decide to go nuclear
An ex-Ukrainian MP has urged Vladimir Putin to use weapons of mass destruction against his own country amid growing fears that Russia could resort to using nukes.
Ilya Kiva, an opposition politician banned from parliament for supporting Russia’s invasion, posted the appeal to his Telegram channel on Sunday – just a day after Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Putin could go nuclear.
Underneath the image of a nuclear explosion, Kiva wrote: ‘REMEMBER!!! – THEY ARE AFRAID AND RESPECT ONLY POWER!!!
‘Zelensky, his entourage and Western curators, are most afraid of a [Russian] pre-emptive strike [with] weapons of mass destruction.
‘This is what can put an end to today’s confrontation, not only with the Ukrainian authorities, but with the entire West which actively and already openly takes part today in the military conflict in Ukraine…
‘If anyone thinks that this is not according to the rules, remember: the West wrote these rules in its own interests and only in order to more effectively destroy you.’
He spoke out after President Zelensky sat down for an interview with CNN in which he warned that the West needs to prepare for the possibility that Putin will resort to using nuclear or chemical weapons against his country.
Western officials fear the Russian strongman could resort to such desperate measures in a last-ditch effort to turn the tide of war in his favour after a series of embarrassing battlefield defeats.
‘They could do it,’ Zelensky said. ‘For them the life of the people [means] nothing. That’s why.
‘We should not be afraid… but be ready. That is a question not only for Ukraine but for all the world, I think.’
His warning had been echoed days earlier by CIA director William Burns who said the threat of a Russian nuclear strike was not to be ‘taken lightly’.
‘Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons,’ he said.
‘We’re obviously very concerned. I know President Biden is deeply concerned about avoiding a third world war, about avoiding a threshold in which nuclear conflict becomes possible.’
Tactical nuclear weapons are nukes with smaller and less-powerful warheads that were originally designed to be used on friendly territory as part of defence against an invasion where the goal is not widespread destruction.
They stand in contrast to strategic nuclear weapons which carry much more powerful warheads designed to wipe out entire cities and are used mostly for deterrence.
Kiva, from Poltava in central Ukraine, trained as a mechanic and psychologist before entering the civil service, and was working as a police major during Russia’s last invasion – in 2014.
He led a far-right nationalist party in eastern Ukraine before getting a job in the Donetsk regional administration, then moved to the federal government and served as adviser to interior minister Arsen Avakov.
Kiva was elected to parliament himself in 2019 for a pro-Russia party founded by arrested oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk, having run unsuccessfully for president.
Kiva was kicked out of parliament shortly after Russia invaded in February this year for repeating Kremlin propaganda that the country was overrun with Nazis, has no future and needs to be ‘liberated’ by Putin.
He has since been charged with treason and is now thought to be in hiding in Russia, claiming the Ukrainian government is trying to kill him.
Putin launched what he called a ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine on February 24 with attacks by air, land and sea with the aim of quickly toppling the government and installing a puppet regime.
It is thought the Russian leader expected only token resistance from Ukraine’s armed forces and a swift victory, with captured Russian troops saying they were told as they went into the country that the government had already capitulated.
What they found instead was a dogged Ukrainian defence that used western weapons and battlefield tactics to inflict a series of bloody defeats on Putin’s men.
Kyiv estimates it has now killed more than 20,000 Russian soldiers, destroyed hundreds of tanks and thousands of vehicles, and has even managed to sink the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet despite not having a navy of its own.
That has forced Russian generals to abandon attacks on Kyiv – at least for now – and instead focus their efforts on capturing the Donbas region in the east of Ukraine.
Zelensky declared last night that an offensive which had been anticipated for weeks is now underway in the region with ‘most’ of Russia’s army dedicated to the task.
Troops are also fighting to take control of Mariupol from Ukraine, which could fall within days having resisted the Russian assault for almost two months.
The coming battle is seen as pivotal to the war and Ukraine’s prospects of survival – and perhaps those of Russia as well.