Putin preparing to use nuclear blackmail in terrifying warning to the West

The president of Ukraine believes Vladimir Putin is preparing to use blackouts and “nuclear blackmail” as weapons to spark fear in his enemies.

This isn’t the first time Volodymyr Zelensky expresses a similar concern.

During a trip to Australia in October, the head of state urged world leaders not to give in to Russia’s “nuclear blackmail”.

In March, he told Rafael Grossi, the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the safety at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station could not be guaranteed while it was occupied by Russian forces.

In a tweet, Mr Zelensky said: “Met with Rafael Grossi to discuss security of our energy industry and nuclear plants. Primarily, the ZNPP still used by Russia for radiation blackmail of the world.

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“The longer Russia occupies the ZNPP, the greater will be the threat to the security of Ukraine, Europe and the world.”

On September 9, the IAEA expressed concerns for the safety of the plant amid an increase in fighting in the area.

Putin and his supporters have raised the spectre of nuclear war multiple times over the past 18 months.

Mr Zelensky issued his latest warning on Russian nuclear threats while claiming the Russian president is “deflated – as a man, as a politician”.

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He then added: “The fact that he killed Prigozhin – at least that’s the information we all have, not any other kind – that also speaks to his rationality, and about the fact that he is weak.”

The Ukrainian head of state didn’t provide any evidence to back up the claim.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the paramilitary Wagner Group, died in a plane crash on August 23, the cause of which hasn’t yet been revealed.

While many close to the mercenary association and some commentators in the West have argued little happens in Russia without Putin knowing it, the Kremlin has slammed as “a complete lie” allegations Moscow was involved in the incident.

Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said two days after the incident: “In the West of course this speculation comes from a certain angle.

“It’s all a complete lie. Of course when we talk about this issue we should be guided only by facts.”

Mr Zelensky’s latest warning came as he attended the 18th Yalta European Strategy meeting, during which he asked the West to issue more sanctions against Russia and to provide his troops with efficient weapons to speed up the counteroffensive.

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