Moscow is not threatening anyone, but if it’s pushed into using nukes, Washington can’t hide behind an ocean, Anatoly Antonov says Launch of the Bulava ballistic missile in the Barents Sea. © Sputnik / Press Service of the Northern Fleet

The US is risking destruction by engaging in nuclear brinkmanship against Russia, Moscow’s envoy to Washington has warned. There can be no such thing as a limited nuclear conflict, Anatoly Antonov said.

The Russian ambassador claimed that American military planners “apparently hope that the United States would be able to take cover behind the ocean” if nuclear weapons are used in Europe, and warned against such a gamble.

“It is safe to assume that any use of nuclear weapons could quickly lead to an escalation of a local or regional conflict into a global one,” he wrote in an article published by The National Interest magazine on Wednesday.

The risk of escalation is coming from the US, and not Russia, Antonov said. Washington has been for decades encroaching on Russian borders with NATO expansion and dismantling various strategic arms control treaties with Russia, he pointed out.

Moscow’s complaints that its national security was being compromised were simply ignored, the diplomat added, which led the country to believe that the US simply wants “to gain security advantages, especially in confronting Russia” and “achieve global military dominance.”

The ambassador was involved with issues relating to nuclear reduction, military transparency and mitigation of strategic risks in the Russian Foreign Ministry before taking up his post in Washington.

US responds to alleged 'Russian nuclear weapons' risk – Politico US responds to alleged 'Russian nuclear weapons' risk – Politico

Read more

US responds to alleged ‘Russian nuclear weapons’ risk – Politico

According to Antonov, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine was caused by the continuation of the same policies, to which Moscow had to respond militarily. If Russia believes that its existence is threatened by the US and its allies, it will use nuclear weapons, as is stated in its military doctrine, he added.

US officials “twist the statements of the Russian leadership” about this stance to further escalate the situation, the diplomat said. Washington is seeking to intimidate its own people as well as others with “sham Russian ‘nuclear threats,’” Antonov claimed.

He urged the US to tone down its hostile rhetoric and policies, to respect Russian national security interests, and join it and other nuclear nations in reiterating a pledge to work towards avoiding any use of the weapons.

Speculation that Russia could use its nuclear arsenal to compensate for failures in a conventional conflict have been rife in Western media since before Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in late February. The latest round of speculation and warnings from senior officials came in response to a national address by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

He said the US wanted to partition Russia in the same way as the Soviet Union was broken up after its collapse, and warned that Moscow would use all tools at its disposal to protect its territorial integrity. (RT)