Russia ready for peace talks while warning new world war would include nuclear bombsby Lee Brown Social Links for Lee Brown View Author Archive Get author RSS feed · New York Post
Russia said it was ready Wednesday for the second round of peace talks with Ukraine — while giving a chilling warning that a third world war would certainly involve nuclear weapons.
The invading nation’s “delegation will be in place to await Ukrainian negotiators,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said — as Russian forces continued the devastating air and land assault for the seventh day.
Video footage showed yet another series of brutal bomb blasts Wednesday as Russian forces also claimed to have taken control of the area around Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia.
Already, more than 2,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed, the country’s emergency service said — as the number of people fleeing could reach 1 million within hours, the UN refugee agency warned.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba later confirmed his nation’s delegation would be at the peace talks Wednesday, even after President Volodymyr Zelensky had said Russia must “first stop bombing people” for the talks to continue.
“Now it’s official. The second round of talks between Ukraine and the occupier will take place today,” a Ukrainian presidential aide also told CNN.
But while the Kremlin put on a more diplomatic public face, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sent a clear warning to the world just days after his president, Vladimir Putin, put his nuclear forces on high alert.
Lavrov said Wednesday that if a third world war were to take place, it would involve nuclear weapons and be destructive, the RIA news agency reported.
Lavrov has said Russia, which launched what it calls a special military operation against Ukraine last week, would face a “real danger” if Kyiv acquired nuclear weapons.
Lavrov has previously claimed that Russia was trying to stop Ukraine from obtaining nukes, despite Zelensky’s assurances that he had no intentions of doing so.
Peskov also said the Russian government would consider all countries that introduce sanctions on the country to be “de facto unfriendly,” according to CNN.
The warning appeared to be just the latest threat from the Kremlin for the West to stay out of the war — as well as an attempted justification for Russia’s aggression.
Meanwhile, Russian forces continued pressing into several major cities — including taking control of the area around Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday it had received a letter from Russia saying personnel at the Zaporizhzhia plant continued their “work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in normal mode of operation.”
The letter claimed that “radiation levels remain normal,” the UN watchdog said.
Zaporizhzhia is the largest of Ukraine’s nuclear sites, with six of the country’s 15 reactors.
Russia has already seized control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.
The head of the UN watchdog, Rafael Grossi, told a special meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors Wednesday that he is “gravely concerned” by the situation.
He said it’s “the first time a military conflict is happening amid the facilities of a large, established nuclear power program.”
Grossi noted that any action jeopardizing the safe operation of nuclear facilities or the safety of radioactive material “could have severe consequences, aggravating human suffering and causing environmental harm.”
Bombs also continued to rip through the heart of Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv — including the police headquarters — while a 40-mile convoy of tanks and military vehicles pressed ever closer to the capital, Kyiv.
Ukrainian officials were still tallying the feared death toll Wednesday.
With Post wires