Nikita Khrushchev warns Russia could drop nukes on Ukraine – 60 years after great-grandfather pulled himself from the brink – World News
Nikita Khrushchev, the great-granddaughter of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, believes Vladimir Putin will eventually do whatever it takes to claim victory in the war
Image: Getty Images)
The great-granddaughter of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev has warned Vladimir Putin that he may use nuclear weapons in the war with Ukraine.
Nina Khrushcheva added that she believed the Russian president was ready to do whatever it took to claim victory.
His great-grandfather backed down when the Soviets and the United States appeared on the verge of using nuclear weapons against each other during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
But Ms Khrushcheva fears the circumstances are different now.
The international affairs professor said: “I think Putin plans to win at all costs. If he does have to declare victory and he may need to use tactical nukes – I’m not predicting that – that might be one of the options the Russians might be ready to use.
Tactical nuclear weapons are less powerful than the long-range missiles that caused the 1962 crisis when Khrushchev ruled the Soviet Union.
But Ms Khrushcheva – a Russia scholar at New York University and a longtime critic of Putin – fears Moscow is using them to devastating effect in Ukraine.
She said her great-grandfather and then-US President John F. Kennedy resolved the Cuban Missile Crisis within days because they were ‘frightened’ by the prospect of mutual annihilation .
Ms Khrushcheva, who was five when Khrushchev died in 1971, previously said: “Now look at him today. Putin is not afraid. In fact, he said he opened up the nuclear arsenal.
In his daily video update, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also warned against Russian nuclear weapons.
He urged nations to build air-raid shelters and stock up on anti-radiation drugs. Mr Zelensky added: “We should not wait for the moment when Russia decides to use nuclear weapons – we have to prepare for it.”
Zuma Press/PA Pictures)
He said in another interview that if Russia invaded the Donbass region in the east, Putin might again try to seize Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.
Mr. Zelensky said: “I don’t trust the Russian military and the Russian leadership. That is why we understand that the fact that we fought them and that they were fleeing kyiv, from the north, from Chernihiv, this does not mean that if they are able to capture Donbass, they will not come further to kyiv .
There remained confusion last night over a deadline in the beleaguered seaport of Mariupol. Russia had told the remaining Ukrainian troops in the city to surrender or they could be killed.
With communications being difficult in the Black Sea port, it was impossible to confirm what the situation was there.
About 100,000 people remained in Mariupol and its immediate surroundings, believed to be largely under Russian control.
Mr Zelensky described the situation as “inhuman”, adding that it remained “as serious as possible”. He said: “Russia is deliberately trying to destroy everyone in Mariupol.”
Petro Andriushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, said on social media that despite Russia’s “corridor of surrender” for the remaining troops in the city, “our defenders continue to hold the defence”.
He added that hostilities on the part of Russia were not limited to the Azovstal steel plant, where Ukrainian soldiers are stationed. He said: “During the fighting, the occupiers again shelled private residential houses with heavy artillery.”
Russia targeted other military installations in Ukraine overnight, including a missile factory on the outskirts of kyiv.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Moscow confirmed another blow to morale with the death of 8th Army deputy commander Vladimir Petrovich Frolov.
Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov said the general had “died a heroic death in battle against the Ukrainian nationalists… [and he] sacrificed his life so that the children…in the Donbass would no longer hear the explosions of bombs”.
Other Russian generals were also killed during the war.
It is unusual for such high-ranking officers to come so close to the battlefield.
Western sources believe they did this to gain control of stalled operations in many areas.
Death comes following the hit of the Russian warship Moskva, flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, which sank after being damaged by an explosion.
New footage is claimed to show Russian Navy chief Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov meeting surviving crew members at Sevastopol in Crimea.