German and Pakistani foreign ministers on Friday warned against the use of tactical nuclear weapons, amid escalating rhetoric from Russia and Ukraine.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he was horrified by recent reports on discussions about the possible use of nuclear weapons.
“This is absolutely not an option. And surely we’ve agreed throughout history, and should continue to agree: The use of nuclear weapons is not an option, for anyone, anywhere in the world,” he said.
“We’re worried about the direction that the events are taking. We continue to respect and insist on the respect of UN resolutions, international law,” he stressed.
He called on the rulers of Ukraine and Russia to engage in dialogue and diplomacy, and find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she completely agrees with the comments of her Pakistani counterpart.
“The fact that we would have to face the possibility of the potential use of nuclear weapons in this century is inconceivable,” she said, adding that using nuclear weapons remains an “unacceptable” option.
She also criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for threatening Ukraine and Western countries with the use of nuclear weapons.
“This nuclear threat that the Russian president has issued is not totally new. He made similar statements in the last couple of months, but it is irresponsible and that the international community opposes it,” she said.
Putin raised the specter of nuclear confrontation last month, warning that Russia will use all means to defend itself and emphasizing that he was not bluffing.
In an online address to an Australian think tank on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “(NATO and the international community) must rule out the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons (through) pre-emptive strikes so that they know what will happen to them if they use (nukes).”
Zelenskyy’s spokesman later clarified that the president was talking about preventive economic sanctions.
Also on Thursday, US President Joe Biden warned that the world is on the precipice of a nuclear catastrophe for the first time since the Cold War.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since (President John F.) Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” Biden said at a Democratic fundraiser.
“I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon,” he added.