The head of Russian space agency Roscomos has claimed his country could quickly destroy NATO countries if a nuclear war took place.
Dmitry Rogozin, who has made many outlandish and provocative comments in recent months, shared the message in Russian on his Telegram channel on Sunday.
Rogozin claimed that the destruction could happen in 30 minutes, “but we must not allow it, since the consequences of an exchange of nuclear strikes will affect the state of our Earth,” he added.
Rogozin also wrote in his Telegram post: “NATO is waging war against us. It has not declared it, but it doesn’t change anything. Now it’s obvious to everyone.”
His comments do not align with the stance of NATO, which posted a statement on its website in April, saying that the organization “condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine — which is an independent, peaceful and democratic country, and a close NATO partner.”
It continued: “The Alliance calls on President Putin to stop this war immediately, withdraw all his forces from Ukraine without conditions and engage in genuine diplomacy.”
In February, Russian president Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert amid the sweeping sanctions the US and EU have imposed on it.
Rogozin has previously said Roscosmos would leave the International Space Station and that the decision had already been affirmed. He also criticized the litany of Western economic sanctions imposed on Russia.
“I believe that the restoration of normal relations between partners in the International Space Station and other joint projects is possible only with the complete and unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions,” he tweeted in April.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, the US — along with the European Union and the UK — have ramped up sanctions against Moscow, Putin, and many individuals in the leader’s inner circle.
Rogozin added in his Telegram message that the war, which Putin called a “special military operation,” had gone “far beyond its original meaning and geography,” and called it “a war for the truth and the right of Russia to exist as a single and independent state.”
Scholars, however, have debunked Russia’s many attempts at justifying the war, including Putin’s claim that he aimed to “denazify” Ukraine.
They told NPR that Putin’s language was offensive and factually wrong. One of the experts, Laura Jockusch, said: “There is no ‘genocide,’ not even an ‘ethnic cleansing’ perpetrated by the Ukraine against ethnic Russians and Russian-speakers in the Ukraine. It is a fiction that is used by Putin to justify his war of aggression on the Ukraine.”
Jockush added in her email to NPR that using the word “denazification” was also “a reminder that the term ‘Nazi’ has become a generic term for ‘absolute evil’ that is completely disconnected from its original historical meaning and context.”