In response to the latest nuclear threats made by Vladimir Putin, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN on Friday that Russia knows there will be 'severe consequences' if nuclear weapons are deployed in Ukraine,
"I will not elaborate exactly on how we will react, that depends on what kind of weapons of mass destruction they may use," he said.
"We are sending these messages and we’re making it clear to prevent that from happening," Stoltenberg said, adding that
"the likelihood of any use of nuclear weapons is still low, but the potential consequences are so big, so, therefore, we have to take this seriously. And the rhetoric, the threats that President Putin [is] putting forward, again and again, increase tensions, are dangerous and are reckless."
Top Russian diplomats downplay threat
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters of Russian news agencies on Friday that it is not threatening anyone with nuclear weapons, reported.
Ryabkov added that it would not be in Russia's interest to have an open confrontation with the US and NATO.
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Also on Friday, Russia's Ambassador to the US, Anatoli Antonov, said he hopes Moscow and Washington are not on "the abyss of nuclear conflict," according to Ria Novosti news agency.
Earlier this week, Putin said in a televised address that he was 'not bluffing' about using nuclear weapons if Russian territories were threatened, while announcing a partial mobilisation to boost Russian forces in Ukraine.