President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that NATO should provide for the possibility of inflicting a "preemptive strike" on Russia in order to "rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons." Zelensky did not specify what kind of blow he was talking about.
Updated. Added comments by Zelensky's press secretary, Sergei Nikiforov, and adviser to the head of the office of the Ukrainian president, Mikhail Podolyak.
“What should NATO do? Eliminate the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons. But what is important, I once again appeal to the international community, as it was before February 24: pre-emptive strikes, so that they know what will happen to them if used. And not vice versa - wait for Russia's nuclear strikes, then to say: "Oh, you are so, well, keep it from us!" Reconsider the application of their pressure, the procedure for applying,” the Ukrainian president said during a video interview at the Australian Lowy Institute.
The Russian leadership immediately reacted to his statement about a "preemptive strike".
So, the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, said that "this is nothing more than a call to start a world war with unpredictable monstrous consequences."
“This is the statement of President Zelensky that all countries of the world should pay attention to. The United States, Great Britain, and the EU countries should especially pay attention to this statement by Zelensky. First of all, the first two.
Later, Zelensky's press secretary Sergei Nikiforov clarified the words of the Ukrainian president.
“The President spoke about the period until February 24th. Then it was necessary to apply preventive measures in order not to allow Russia to unleash a war. Let me remind you that the only measures that were discussed at that time were preventive sanctions,” he wrote on Facebook.
Mikhail Podolyak , adviser to the head of the office of the Ukrainian president, also reacted. According to him, Zelensky in his statement did not talk about a preventive nuclear strike, but “reminded about Russian nuclear blackmail and suggested that the world preemptively outline the consequences for Russia and intensify such strikes as sanctions and armed assistance to Ukraine.”