Russia's military doctrine requires only defensive use of nuclear weapons, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
Speaking at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Moscow, Putin said nuclear weapons may be used only if Russia is attacked, and that he never threatened to use nuclear weapons anywhere, including in Ukraine.
"We have never proactively said anything about the possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia, only responded to statements made by leaders of the Western countries," Putin stressed.
Asked about claims regarding a possible nuclear strike on Ukraine, Putin said: "Russia does not need a nuclear strike on Ukraine, there is no political or military sense in this."
He, however, said the threat of using nuclear weapons exists as long as the weapons themselves exist, citing the US nuclear attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
"There was no military sense in that, Japan was already defeated," he said.
Putin argued that the Western countries artificially stir the topic of a possible nuclear strike to present Russia as an aggressive and dangerous country and on this ground to get support from those countries that have not joined anti-Russian sanctions yet.
"The purpose of today's fuss over the use of nuclear weapons is very primitive. The dictate of Western countries, an attempt to put pressure on participants in international communication, ends in nothing. They are looking for arguments to prove that they need to stand up to Russia together," he said.
In line with these attempts, Putin said, "a dirty bomb" has been "concocted" in Ukraine from the leftover nuclear fuel to accuse Russia of the use of nuclear weapons and prompt global condemnation.
The president also said he personally instructed Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to call all his Western counterparts and to warn them about Ukraine's plans with the "dirty bomb."
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Sunday that Ukraine was planning a provocation with the use of a dirty bomb to accuse Russia of using nuclear weapons and prompt Western countries to retaliate.
In a joint statement on Sunday, the US, France, and the UK rejected the Russian claims.
A dirty bomb or radiological dispersal device is a type of speculative radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives.