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Ukraine’s President Zelensky hints at developing nuclear weapons after NATO declares it will not confront Russia

Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, threatens to develop atomic weapons (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ronzheimer)

Furious at NATO’s decision to stay out of the conflict, Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, has warned that his country, battling Russian forces, could develop atomic weapons.

“All that the alliance (NATO) could do today was to allocate some 50 tons of diesel fuel for Ukraine through its procurement system,” Zelensky said, in a videotaped address.

In a veiled nuclear threat, he added: “Probably, it’s for us so that we can burn the Budapest Memorandum. To make it burn better. But for us it has already burned down in the fire of the Russian troops,” Zelensky was referring to the 1994 document, which guided Ukraine’s surrender of its nuclear arsenal inherited from the former Soviet Union.

The memorandum gave security assurances to three ex-Soviet countries—Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus—following which, along with other agreements signed between 1993-96, the trio gave up its atomic weapons.

The war between Russia and Ukraine has already exposed a nuclear dimension, including the threat of radiation leakage, after Russian troops were accused of shelling the  Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest.

Reuters is reporting that as shells hit the area, a training building had caught fire, triggering a global alarm. But the blaze has been extinguished. and officials said the facility was safe.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Raphael Grossi said the plant had not been damaged, but only one of the plant’s six reactors was working, at around 60% of capacity.

Russia's defence ministry also said the plant was working normally, but refuting the shelling accusation, said that Ukrainian saboteurs were responsible for the incident.

“Last night, an attempt to carry out a horrible provocation was made by Kiev’s nationalist regime on the area surrounding the station,” Russia’s defence ministry spokesperson, Major General Igor Konashenkov announced on Friday. He claimed that  a Ukrainian sabotage group had attacked Russian forces patrolling the territory, from a training facility next to the power station in order to “provoke a retaliatory strike on the building.”

He added that the Russian patrol had neutralized the group’s firing point, but the saboteurs had then set fire to the training facility while they retreated. 

In his video, the Ukrainian President slammed NATO’s refusal to establish a no-fly zone over the country in the wake of the Russian invasion.

“NATO knowingly approved the decision not to close the skies over Ukraine. We believe that the NATO countries themselves have created a narrative that the alleged closing of the sky over Ukraine will provoke direct Russian aggression against NATO,” Zelensky observed. The angry Ukrainian leader asserted that  “people will die because of you,” referring to the US-led bloc. 

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, amplified his president’s outrage when he said that the ongoing conflict had unveiled NATO’s “weakness.”

“Before the war, Ukrainian people believed that NATO was strong, while the EU was weak and indecisive. And after the war began, the people saw that the opposite was true,” Kuleba told the 1+1 TV channel.

Ukraine’s top diplomat also stressed that the EU “gave us a candidate status and prospects of membership, while NATO could not decide on anything.”

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