Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he was introducing martial law in four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine that Moscow claimed last month as its own territory but is struggling to defend from Ukrainian advances. In televised remarks to members of his Security Council, Putin boosted the security powers of all of Russia’s regional governors and ordered the creation of a special coordinating council under Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to step up the faltering war effort. Mr Sivkov claimed Kyiv will use tactics to alllow the US to attack Russian territories.
Speaking on state TV, he said: “There is already a thermonuclear charge in Mykolaiv which will be designated for use in a provocation.
“One can assume that the explosion of that charge against the background of NATO and the US’s constant claims that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons, on the eve of that offensive or during that offensive in order to say that because Russia is suffering defeat.
“It has conducted a strike on Ukrainian forces which will end in tens of thousands of civilian deaths.
“This will allow the USA to justify large-scale missile strikes on the territory, on our troops in those regions and on Russian territory.
READ MORE: Russia facing dire Winter ahead as Kiev looks to ‘nail done gains’
“That’s to say, essentially justify the US entering into the war against Russia.”
Russia said on Thursday that the West’s supplies of advanced weapons to Ukraine were finding their way onto the black market and then into the hands of extremist and criminal groups in the Middle East, central Africa and Asia.
Since Russia launched its war with Ukraine on February 24, the biggest land invasion in Europe since World War Two, Western powers have sent Ukraine an array of weapons in an attempt to help forces fighting Russian troops.
Maria Zakharova, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, said that NATO members had in total sent at least 700 artillery systems, 80,000 missile systems, 800,000 artillery shells and 90 million rounds of ammunition.
Western leaders say they want to help Ukraine defeat Russia, though U.S. President Joe Biden has sought to prevent a direct NATO-Russia confrontation. Ukraine is asking for more weapons from the United States and its allies.
Some security officials, though, are concerned.
The head of Interpol, Jürgen Stock, said in June that some of the advanced weapons sent to Ukraine would end up in the hands of organised crime groups.
Europol said in July that it was working closely with Ukraine to mitigate the threat of arms trafficking. “A potential threat observed in war zones in the past is that firearms can fall into the wrong hands,” it said at the time.