‘They’ll ridicule us’: Ukraine defense minister ‘claims’ Russia used nukes
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A reported claim by Ukraine’s Defense minister that Russia used tactical nuclear weapons against his troops sparked sarcastic comments from Moscow and criticism from the rival Ukrainian Interior Ministry.
The allegations, by Col. Gen. Valery Geletey, were first reported by Roman Bochkala, one of the Ukrainian journalists accompanying the minister in his recent trip to Poland.
“So Russia did use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukrainian troops,” the journalist wrote on his Facebook page, citing Geletey’s words.
The nuclear weapons in question are rounds for 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled mortars. The journalist reported the minister as saying that Russia supplied some of those to rebel forces and used at least two 3-kiloton nuclear rounds in the battle for Lugansk airport.
“If it were not for the Tyulpans, we could have been holding the airport for months and nobody would have ousted us from it,” the general was cited as saying.
Ukraine's Defense Minister Valery Geletey (RIA Novosti)
The allegations understandably provoked a small media storm in Ukraine and even comments from the Russian Defense Ministry, which expressed doubt that a general could actually have said it.
If the minister did say all that, the Russians joked, then “the Ukrainian security service should investigate what the Polish friends slipped into Geletey’s glass.”
“Speaking seriously, Geletey’s habit of justifying the failures of the punitive operation in southeastern Ukraine with the alleged actions of the Russian armed forces start to resemble paranoia,” the Russian ministry added.
And ever-sarcastic Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who supervises Russian defense and security, tweeted a picture of Geletey with his hands stretched out saying: “they nuked us with a bomb this big.”
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