Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted in a statement earlier this week that the United States and its NATO allies are now teetering on the edge of war with her country as it is, and if something were to 'jump off,' at least some U.S. officials believe that the conflict will involve nuclear weapons.
"After provoking an escalation of the Ukrainian crisis and unleashing a violent hybrid confrontation with Russia, Washington and its allies are dangerously teetering on the brink of an open military confrontation with our country, which means a direct armed conflict between nuclear powers. Clearly, such a confrontation would be fraught with nuclear escalation," she said in a statement, which was published by Russian news agency Tass.
She went on to blast what she claimed were Japanese attempts to portray Russia as having made nuclear threats in the recent past.
"It is unacceptable to try to distort the logic of deterrence, which is what Russia’s official statements on nuclear issues are based on, for propaganda reasons, as well as to depict us as a country threatening to use nuclear weapons," she said.
Zakharova noted further that the tone and focus of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's comments regarding nuclear weapons were confusing.
"We have taken note of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent anti-Russian remarks, including his controversial statements on the nuclear weapons issue. Their focus and tone are puzzling," she said.
"In particular, in order to justify the move to choose Hiroshima as the host city of a G7 summit, a remark was made that there was no better alternative to the city in a situation where "Russia’s use of nuclear weapons and nuclear threats are becoming a reality’," her statement continued.
Russia and Japan have a long-simmering disagreement over islands currently occupied by the former.
"The two countries have been locked in a territorial dispute over a group of islands known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan for more than 75 years. The Soviet Union seized the disputed islands in the final days of World War II, expelling thousands of Japanese residents," Bloomberg News reported recently.
“The Northern Territories are inherent territories of Japan that are currently under illegal occupation by Russia,” the Japanese foreign ministry said in a report, which was published in April on its website. The “inherent territories” wording had also been absent from the so-called blue book since 2011, the ministry said in an email, according to Bloomberg.
“In the current situation, we are forced to suspend the implementation of the 1998 Agreement until the Japanese side fulfills all its financial obligations,” Zakharova said in a statement at the time.
Meanwhile, some U.S. officials obviously believe that a nuclear exchange is becoming increasingly possible. New York City out of the blue published a video explaining to residents what to do and how to respond to a nuclear attack earlier this week.
Released this week by the city’s emergency management agency, the 90-second video advises citizens to stay indoors and wash off any radioactive dust or ash. It opens on a computer-generated street, devoid of life. Damaged skyscrapers can be seen in the background.
Looking into the camera, a spokesperson says: “So there’s been a nuclear attack. Don’t ask me how or why. Just know that the big one has hit."
Many New Yorkers were left asking, “Why now?”
NYC Emergency Management Deputy Commissioner Christina Ferrell claimed that the video was not linked to any specific threats, and that it was released to simply raise awareness for a potentiality that most Americans (and New Yorkers, apparently) haven't given a lot of consideration.
“There’s no overarching reason why this is the time we sent this out,” Farrell told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “It’s just one tool in the toolbox to be prepared in the 21st century."
“I don’t know if there’s ever the perfect moment to talk about nuclear preparedness,” she added.