Once again, Russia has hinted that it could resort to nuclear weapons if pushed to the wall in its ongoing war with Ukraine. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accuses NATO of engaging in a proxy war with Russia by supplying weapons to Ukraine and warned that "the risks [of a Third World War] now are considerable".
This is not the first such threat. In February President Vladimir Putin warned countries that would consider interfering in the war in Ukraine of "consequences greater than any you have faced in history". That was interpreted to mean a nuclear attack.
Following the latest threat, Ukrainian authorities believe Moscow is "scaremongering as a sign of weakness" and that "it has lost last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine".
It is possible that Russia is blustering in order to scare away countries that continue to stand with Ukraine. However, the world should take these threats with utmost seriousness. They attest to the omnipresent threat of nuclear weapons.
Indeed, it is said that a handful nations have nuclear weapons enough to destroy the world many times over. Ninety per cent of the world's 12,700 nuclear warheads are in the hands of Russia and the US. China, UK, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea also have nuclear weapons.
Notably, these countries use nuclear weapons mostly as a deterrence as even the most powerful nations would not fathom attacking a nuclear-armed nation for fear of inviting Armageddon. That explains why despite disapproving the Russian invasion, no country has sent troops to Ukraine. Any wonder countries such as Iran covet these weapons.
The repeated threats by Russia should make level-headed world nations to speak in one voice against nuclear weapons. They must demand total eradication of these weapons, if necessary by collectively imposing sanctions on the nuclear powers. We should not allow them to continue endangering our planet and its 7.9 billion people.