Tory minister ‘concerned’ by Putin’s nuclear threats amid fears of ‘escalation’

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Threats by Vladimir Putin regarding nuclear weapons are “quite concerning”, a foreign office minister has said.

Gillian Keegan said comments by the Russian president overnight were “clearly an escalation”.

In a televised speech Mr Putin accused the West of “nuclear blackmail” and said his country could respond.

“Some of the language there was quite concerning at the end and obviously we would urge for calm,” FCDO minister Ms Keegan said.

“It’s something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control.

“I’m not sure he’s in control either really. I mean, this is obviously an escalation and, of course, for the Russian people now they will be conscripted into this war.”

Speaking on Wednesday Mr Putin had criticised “statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia.

“To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components and more modern than those of NATO countries and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said, adding: “It’s not a bluff.”

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‘It’s not a bluff’: Putin threatens to use ‘weapons of destruction’ and accuses West of ‘nuclear blackmail’