Russia says nuclear weapons use possible only in 'emergency circumstances'

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(Reuters) - Russia's foreign ministry said on Thursday that Moscow would only use its nuclear arsenal in "emergency circumstances" and that it has no interest in a direct confrontation with NATO and the United States.

Russia's defence minister HAD said on Tuesday that Moscow has "no need" to use nuclear weapons during its military campaign in Ukraine, describing media speculation that Moscow might deploy nuclear or chemical weapons in the conflict as "absolute lies".

Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ivan Nechaev said nuclear weapons would be used solely as a "response" measure.

"Russian military doctrine allows a nuclear response only in response to the threat of mass destruction, or when the very existence of the state is threatened," he said. "That is, the use of a nuclear arsenal is possible only as part of a response to an attack in self-defenCe and only in emergencies."

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Heinrich)