Vladimir Putin will face “severe consequences” if Moscow deploys nuclear weapons in Ukraine, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the Commons. He also accused Russia’s President of “exacting vengeance” by targeting essential infrastructure such as power stations and pulling out a grain export deal.
The deal, brokered by the UN, fell apart last week when Putin refused to ensure Ukraine’s grain supply due to his claims that the Navy helped Kyiv carry out a drone attack in the Black Sea.
Mr Cleverly addressed the Commons with a powerful statement expressing the UK’s continued support for President Zelensky and his forces.
He said: “The house will have noted Putin’s irresponsible talk about nuclear weapons, and absurd claim that Ukraine plans to detonate a radiological dirty bomb on its own territory.
“No other country is talking about nuclear use. No country is threatening Russia or President Putin.
“He should be clear that for the UK and our allies, any use at all of nuclear weapons would fundamentally change the nature of this conflict. There would be severe consequences for Russia.”
Mr Cleverly called on the Kremlin to allow grain exports, drawing attention to the damaging impacts felt around the world.
He continued: “At the weekend, Russia suspended its participation in the Black Sea grain initiative, which has allowed the exportation of 100,000 tonnes of food every day, including to some of the least developed countries in the world.
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“I urge Russia to stop impeding this vital initiative that is helping feed the hungry across the world and agree to its extension.”
Putin has been accused of making “increasingly desperate statements” as his armies continue to struggle to make progress in their invasion.
Last month Russia’s defence ministry blamed the Royal Navy for the explosions in the Nord Stream gas pipeline, a story the Ministry of Defence say was “invented”.