0554 GMT May 26, 2022
“We have a military doctrine – everything is written there,” Alexander Grushko said, according to RIA.
Russia’s official military deployment principles allow for the use of nuclear weapons if they – or other types of weapons of mass destruction – are used against it, or if the Russian state faces an existential threat from conventional weapons.
The decision to use Russia’s vast nuclear arsenal, the biggest in the world, rests with the Russian president, currently Vladimir Putin.
The conflict in Ukraine has raised fears of a wider confrontation between Russia and the United States – by far the world’s biggest nuclear powers.
A decree signed by Putin on June 2, 2020, said Russia views its nuclear weapons as “exclusively a means of deterrence”.
It repeats the phraseology of the military doctrine but adds details about four circumstances under which a nuclear strike would be ordered. These include reliable information of a ballistic missile attack on Russia, and an enemy's attack “on critical state or military installations of the Russian Federation, the incapacitation of which would lead to the disruption of a response by nuclear forces”.
Putin says his Feb. 24 order for a “special military operation” in Ukraine is meant to stop Ukraine’s persecution of Russian speakers and prevent the eastward expansion of the NATO military alliance by the US.