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The Kremlin issued a chilling threat on Thursday to Western nations engaged in aiding Ukraine, stating that further action by NATO members could lead to a nuclear World War III that “will be catastrophic for all mankind.”

A top Kremlin official warned NATO of nuclear war if the Western alliance approved Ukraine’s emergency application to join.

“Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to a World War III,” Alexander Venediktov, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told state news agency TASS.

Russia’s warning came less than 24-hours after a senior NATO official stated that a Russian nuclear strike would lead to a “physical response” from Ukraine’s allies, while Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated that the US was “committed to defending every inch of NATO’s territory,” according to the New York Post.

But Venediktov alleged that Western power were plotting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to launch preemptive attacks.

Zelenskyy’s comment was “not just some kind of remark, but an open call for the Third World War in which there can be no winners,” Venediktov said.

“Russian officials have never voiced a threat to use any weapons of mass destruction,” he alleged, ignoring that Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials had warned that Russia would use nuclear weapons if Moscow was backed into a corner in its war against Ukraine.

“Meanwhile in Europe, some politicians openly call for such actions … Even a number of politicians in the EU do not conceal and do not rule out the possibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia,” Venediktov said.

He went on to claim that Zelenskyy was a puppet whose “actions and words [are] dictated” by Western powers.

“Therefore, it would be good for the West to realize that their protege can [only] take on so much that Washington and Brussels will have to think about how to deal with the consequences,” he said.

He charged that “in the West, fewer and fewer people remember what war is.”

“For some reason, many believe that a nuclear war can be waged locally,” he said. “We must remember: A nuclear conflict will affect absolutely the whole world — and not only Russia and the collective West, but in general any country on this planet.”

“Its consequences will be catastrophic for all mankind,” he added.