Russia invades Ukraine, the country prepares for a major Donbass offensive

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(CNN)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN on Friday that “every country in the world” should be prepared for the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin might use tactical nuclear weapons in his war against Ukraine.

Zelensky told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an exclusive interview from the president’s Kyiv office on Friday that Putin might turn to nuclear or chemical weapons because he places no value on the lives of the Ukrainian people.

“Not just me – everyone, every country should be worried because it may not be real information, but it may be the truth,” Zelensky said, speaking in English.

“Chemical weapons, they should, they could, for them the life of the people, nothing. That’s why,” Zelensky said. “We should think not to be afraid, not to be afraid but to be ready. But this is not a question for Ukraine, not only for Ukraine but for the whole world, I think.”

Zelensky remained in Ukraine throughout the 50-day war with Russia, as Ukrainian forces resisted Kremlin attempts to seize kyiv and forced Russia to refocus its war efforts on areas of eastern and southern parts of the country, where Ukraine anticipates a significant escalation in fighting in the coming days.

One of Russia’s most important naval warships sank in the Black Sea this week, which Ukraine says was the result of a missile strike, while Russia has claimed it was due to a fire caused by the detonation of ammunition.

At the same time, Russia fires cruise missiles into the outskirts of kyiv and still retains the ability to target the Ukrainian capital with long-range weapons.

US officials have warned of the possibility that Putin, if cornered, could turn to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. CIA Director Bill Burns said Thursday that the CIA is watching the possibility “very carefully,” while stressing that the United States has yet to see any signs that Russia is preparing to take such a step.

“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks they have faced so far militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential recourse tactical nukes or low-yield nukes,” he added. said in public remarks at Georgia Tech.

Watch an excerpt from the interview here.

You can catch more of the interview on “The Lead” at 4 p.m. ET and the full interview will air Sunday at 9 a.m. ET on “State of the Union.”


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