Putins nuclear war could be a reality, Ukraine President Zelensky fears

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky believes Vladimir Putin is not bluffing with his threats of nuclear war.

Zelensky reckons that the Russian leader wants to "scare the whole world" and feels an atomic strike "could be a reality".

The nuclear rhetoric from Moscow was ramped up last week when Putin announced his plans to call up 300,000 civilians for his war in Ukraine.

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And Zelensky is not of the opinion that Putin's menacing words are without substance.

In an interview on US television network CBS' Face The Nation news programme, Zelensky declared: "He wants to scare the whole world. Look, maybe yesterday it was bluff.

"Now, it could be a reality. He targeted and occupied our nuclear power plant and the city of Enerhodar. This nuclear station has six blocks. And he continues his blackmail related to us exporting electricity to Europe."

Zelensky went on to claim that Kremlin troops had begun to shoot at another power plant, Pivdenna, with a missile landing in an area less than quarter of a mile away.

He also now feels that Ukraine's allies are all that is dissuading Putin from ordering a nuclear strike on his country, adding: "I don’t think he’s bluffing.

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"I think the world is deterring it and containing this threat. We need to keep putting pressure on him and not allow him to continue."

Zelensky has told Russian soldiers, meanwhile, that they will be treated in a "civilised manner" if they wish to surrender.

Speaking in Russian during an address to the nation, he promised: "You will be treated in a civilised manner. No one will know the circumstances of your surrender."

Putin, however, pushed a bill through Russian parliament last week that means any soldier who deserts the war effort, surrenders or disobeys a command to fight will be given a 10-year prison sentence.

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