The Kremlin has blamed Liz Truss on Vladimir Putin’s decision yesterday to raise the country’s nuclear alert level.
Putin put Russia’s nuclear forces on a “special regime of duty” yesterday, igniting fears of a global nuclear conflict.
Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov today said: “There were unacceptable statements about possible conflict situations and even confrontations and clashes between Nato and Russa. I will not name the authors of these statements, although it was the British foreign secretary.”
It appears that Peskov is referring to comments made by Truss on her round of broadcast interviews yesterday morning.
“If we don’t stop Putin in Ukraine we are going to see others under threat – the Baltics, Poland, Moldova, and it could end up in a conflict with Nato,” she said.
“We do not want to go there. That is why it is so important we make the sacrifices now.”
The move to put Russia’s nuclear forces on a “special regime of duty” comes after Putin told top officials in a televised meeting that the west’s economic sanctions were “illegitimate” and “aggressive statements” against Russia.
It comes after Putin delivered a veiled threat last week to use nuclear weapons against any country that intervened in his invasion of Ukraine.
The move has put Russia’s nuclear forces on their highest alert since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace this morning told the BBC that Putin’s decision was intended to remind people that Russia has the largest stock of nuclear weapons in the world and to distract people from the lacklustre performance of his military in the Ukraine invasion.
“We will not do anything to escalate in that area… but at the moment this is a battle of rhetoric that President Putin is deploying,” he said.
“This is predominantly about Putin putting it on the table just to remind people, remind the world, that he has a deterrent.”
He added that it was unlikely Putin wanted to start a nuclear war as Nato has three countries with nuclear weapons – the US, UK and France.
Foreign Affairs Committee and Tory MP Tom Tugendhat said “the Russian military doctrine doesn’t work in the same way as the Nato military doctrine”.
“They do assume that they may use battlefield nuclear weapons and they see them as just a, if you’ll excuse the expression, a bigger bang. They don’t treat fallout in the same way we do,” he said.