In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, conceded that Russia has yet to achieve any of its military goals in Ukraine and refused to deny that Moscow could resort to the use of nuclear weapons.
Peskov repeatedly refused to rule out that Russia would consider using nuclear weapons against what Moscow saw as an “existential threat.” When asked under what conditions Putin would use Russia’s nuclear capability, Peskov replied, “if it is an existential threat for our country, then it can be.”
When asked what Putin thought he had achieved in Ukraine so far, Peskov answered: “Well, first of all, not yet. He hasn’t achieved yet.”
The spokesman also claimed that the “special military operation” — the Kremlin’s official euphemism for Russia’s invasion in Ukraine — was “going on strictly in accordance with the plans and the purposes that were established beforehand.”
Peskov also repeated Putin’s demands, saying that the “main goals of the operation” are to “get rid of the military potential of Ukraine,” to ensure Ukraine is a “neutral country,” to get rid of “nationalist battalions,” for Ukraine to accept that Crimea — annexed by Russia in 2014 — is part of Russia and to accept that the breakaway statelets of Luhansk and Donetsk “are already independent states.”
The Kremlin spokesperson also discussed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who today was sentenced by a Moscow court to nine more years in a maximum-security jail.
When asked about Navalny’s sentence, Peskov said “Navalny is a prisoner…he’s had his first sentence. Now he’s got his second one…he’s blamed for fraud.”
“No one is afraid of him,” he added.