VILNIUS - Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear threats are a psychopath's another "step towards total madness", Lithuanian Minister of National Defense Arvydas Anusauskas says.
This is not the first time the West has heard the Russian leader's threats and it heard them even before the invasion of Ukraine, but they do not necessarily come true, the minister pointed out.
"Finally, we have the war in Ukraine with all the threats to wipe out this country. Has this been implemented?" the minister told reporters on Friday. "I think we should look at those threats as another step towards complete madness by a psychopath sitting in the Kremlin."
Russian officials, including the president, stepped up threats to use nuclear weapons to defend their territory after voting started in the pseudo-referendums on the annexation of the four occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Following these votes, the Kremlin is set to hold a ceremony on Friday to complete the annexation and incorporate the territories into Russia. Kyiv and the West call these referendums rigged.
Despite these events, the Ukrainians continue to do well on the front line, Anusauskas said.
"Putin may think he has annexed something, but I know that his army was surrounded near Lyman", the minister said. "I think the Ukrainians will definitely use this opportunity not to let that army out of the encirclement and will push the front line further east, reclaiming their territories."