Ukraine's Zelensky doesn't think Putin is bluffing over nuclear arms

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he doesn't think Vladimir Putin is bluffing when he says Moscow would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a joint news briefing with Poland's President Andrzej Duda, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 23, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a joint news briefing with Poland's President Andrzej Duda, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine August 23, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Viacheslav Ratynskyi)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he doesn't think Vladimir Putin is bluffing when he says Moscow would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.

The Russian president said in a televised address last week that Moscow would use "all available means" to protect Russia and its people if its territorial integrity were threatened. 

"Look, maybe yesterday it was bluff. Now, it could be a reality," Zelensky, who had previously played down such warnings as nuclear blackmail, told CBS News on Sunday.

"I don't think he's bluffing," Zelensky added.

"Look, maybe yesterday it was bluff. Now, it could be a reality."

Volodymyr Zelensky

The Ukrainian president said Russian strikes on or near two Ukrainian nuclear plants could be considered "contemporary use of nuclear weapons or nuclear blackmail."

Russia's President Vladimir Putin walks past a TV camera during a parade marking Navy Day in Saint Petersburg, Russia July 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)Russia's President Vladimir Putin walks past a TV camera during a parade marking Navy Day in Saint Petersburg, Russia July 31, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)

Zaporizhzhia's nuclear power plant

Kyiv accuses Moscow of repeatedly shelling the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during the war in Ukraine and more recently conducting a missile strike near the Pivdennoukrainska nuclear plant.

Moscow denies shelling the Zaporizhzhia plant, accusing Kyiv of being responsible. It did not comment on the Pivdennoukrainska strike.