NATO could hold emergency summit next week: Warsaw
NATO might hold an emergency meeting next week as tensions mount between Moscow on the one hand and Brussels and Washington on the other.
An emergency NATO summit may happen next week, Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters in Bratislava following a meeting that brought together the heads of the Visegrad Four, comprised of Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
According to Duda, he had a phone call with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, during which he said he conveyed [Ukrainian President] Zelensky's request for an extraordinary summit.
"I conveyed to Secretary General Stoltenberg the request of President Zelensky to convene an extraordinary NATO summit at the level of heads of state and government," Duda explained.
"Mr. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that at this moment, he was very seriously considering such a step - convening such a meeting," the Polish president underlined.
"There is a high probability that this meeting will take place next week," he also revealed.
Stoltenberg said NATO was ready to hold a virtual summit, if necessary. However, he did note that a decision will be made after a ministerial meeting in Brussels on October 12-13.
NATO nuclear drills
Following Poland's statements, Stoltenberg announced that the alliance had plans to hold nuclear deterrence exercises next week.
"Next week, NATO will hold its long-planned deterrence exercise Steadfast Noon. This is routine training, which happens every year to keep our deterrence safe, secure, and effective," Stoltenberg told a press conference.
US President Joe Biden had warned a few days ago during a Democratic fundraiser in New York that the world risked nuclear "Armageddon" for the first time since the Cold War, claiming that he was trying to find Russian President Vladimir Putin's "off-ramp" in the Ukraine war.
This was not the first time that the prospect of an all-out nuclear doomsday is spoken of among Russia and the West, as Zelensky expressed on Thursday that NATO and the entire international community should reconsider how to respond to Russia's possible use of nuclear weapons and provide for preemptive strikes.
In an initial response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that "all countries of the world should pay attention to" such a statement, emphasizing that the US and UK, which direct Kiev's actions, are the first two; therefore, they should be held liable for Zelensky's statements.
The table was the other way around in September, with US national security adviser Jake Sullivan saying the White House warned Russia that there would be "catastrophic consequences" if the latter uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had also accused the West of using the threat of nuclear weapons to blackmail Russia and warned that Moscow will use all means in case its territorial integrity is threatened.
Peskov also highlighted how Zelensky was calling on the world's leading powers and nuclear states to participate in his endeavor and launch a nuclear strike on Russia.
That is, in fact, the head of Ukraine calls on the leading states of the world, the countries of the nuclear club, to launch a preemptive strike on our country, on the Russian Federation," Peskov told Russian broadcaster Rossiya 1.