Russia updating its nuclear doctrine amid 'current realities'

24 June 2024, 13:49 | Updated: 24 June 2024, 17:36

Russia has said it is updating its nuclear doctrine, in a sign of growing tensions between Moscow and the West.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, citing an earlier statement by Vladimir Putin, told a briefing that "work is under way to bring the doctrine into line with current realities".

He did not provide any further details.

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The nuclear doctrine currently states it may use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack or in the event of a conventional attack that poses an existential threat to Russia.

Tensions between Moscow and the West have increased dramatically in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the Kremlin persistently claiming it is fighting a proxy war with the West.

Since the start of the war, some hawks within Russian politics have advocated for Moscow to revise its nuclear doctrine - and others have threatened an attack on the West.

Mr Putin said last week that Russia was thinking about changing its doctrine because its potential enemies were working on "new elements" around lowering the threshold for nuclear use.

"In particular, explosive nuclear devices of extremely low power are being developed. And we know that there are ideas floating around in expert circles in the West that such means of destruction could be used," he claimed.

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Relations have deteriorated

The West, for its part, has been reluctant at times to provide further aid to Ukraine for fear of escalation - although some have accused Moscow of sabre-rattling to scare off Kyiv's allies.

Relations appear to have deteriorated further in recent weeks after the US agreed to allow Ukraine to use American-made weapons to strike inside Russian territory under certain circumstances.