Von der Leyen urges Xi Jinping to deter Moscow’s irresponsible nuclear threats

Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to use his influence with Moscow in the face of Russia's "current nuclear threats," German broadcaster Tagesschau reported on May 6.

Von der Leyen acknowledged Xi’s role in “de-escalating Russia’s irresponsible nuclear threats” previously and hopes he will continue to deter the Kremlin in light of the latest developments.

She also called on China to prevent the supply of dual-use goods to Russia that later end up on the battlefield, noting the importance of this for EU-China relations.

The call comes after the Russian Defense Ministry announced that dictator Vladimir Putin had ordered the General Staff to prepare for exercises on the tactical nuclear weapons use.

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On May 6, the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the exercises were related to the West’s readiness to deploy its troops in Ukraine.

It refers to the statements of French President Emmanuel Macron, the UK representatives, as well House Minority Leader and Leader of the House Democratic Caucus, Hakeem Jeffries, Peskov explained.

This is a completely new round of tensions escalation, it is unprecedented and, of course, it requires special attention and special measures to be taken,” the Kremlin spokesperson alleged furiously.

Ukrainian intelligence is actively gathering information about the planned exercises, according to its spokesperson Andriy Yusov.

Putin earlier claimed that Russia is “militarily ready for a nuclear war,” but it is unlikely that “everything is so straightforward.” He also believes that the United States “actively develops nuclear forces and enhances their capabilities,” while saying that he hopes that the United States “is unlikely to be ready to start a nuclear war tomorrow.”

On March 9, CNN reported that the United States had “rigorously” prepared for the possibility of a Russian nuclear strike in Ukraine in late 2022.

On March 14, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director, General Rafael Grossi, said that there were currently no conditions indicating that Russia might follow through on its repeated threats to use nuclear weapons, despite bluster from Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

On April 2, Head of U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, said that President Joe Biden and his National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan “bought into” idea that Russia could use nuclear weapons if the U.S. provides Ukraine with “too many” weapons.

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