The Russian government has threatened to make Europe ‘disappear’ if Western leaders supply nuclear weapons to Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin’s top political ally Viacheslav Volodin, who is also head of the State Duma, warned such a move would provoke a ‘nuclear conflict’ on the continent.
The threat comes after Poland’s ex-foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski reportedly called for the transfer of nukes to Ukraine's President Zelensky to strengthen his defence.
No Western leaders have so far suggested arming Ukraine with nuclear weapons and it is unclear if Poland has plans to do so.
To which Volodin has now repudiated, and as a key figure in Russian politics, his words are not to be taken lightly.
‘With such deputies, the Europeans will have much more serious problems than those they have already faced today (refugees, record inflation, energy crisis),’ Volodin, the head of the State Duma, hit back on Telegram.
‘Sikorski provokes a nuclear conflict in the center of Europe. He does not think about the future of either Ukraine or Poland.
‘If his proposals are implemented, these countries will disappear as well as Europe.
‘He needs to be examined by a psychiatrist, pass the mandate and stay at home under supervision.
‘It is precisely because of people like Sikorski that it is necessary to liberate Ukraine not only from the Nazi ideology, but also to demilitarise it, ensuring the country’s non-nuclear status.’
Mr Sikorski told Ukrainian channel Espreso TV the Russian president had violated the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances of 1994, which pledges to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, in exchange for Ukraine handing over it's nuclear arsenal to Russia.
He said this breach would justify the delivery of nuclear weapons from the West.
In a post on Twitter addressed to Volodin, Mr Sikorski said: ‘You promised Ukraine to respect her borders in 1994 in return for her nukes.
‘You are now colonizing her and you threaten both Ukraine and NATO with your nukes.
‘We just want you to know that if you use them, we have options too.’