Iskander missile
© Sputnik / The Russian Defense MinistryA Russian nuclear-capable Iskander tactical ballistic missile
Russia could potentially make changes to its nuclear doctrine should the "escalatory actions" by the US and its allies push it into doing so, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has warned.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a BRICS ministerial meeting in Nizhny Novgorod, Ryabkov admitted the international situation has been getting increasingly "complicated" and changes to his country's nuclear posture could not be ruled out.

"The challenges that are growing thanks to the unacceptable and escalatory actions of the US and its NATO allies undoubtedly prompt a full-fledged question of how the basic documents in nuclear deterrence can be brought more into line with current needs," Ryabkov said.

The diplomat refused to elaborate on the exact nature of the potential amendments, explaining that Moscow does not have a "practice of covering in advance what kind of changes can be made" before actual decisions are taken.

The remarks come shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin again reiterated Moscow's stance on nuclear weapons as a last-resort option. Speaking during a question-and-answer panel at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) last week, the president stressed that Russia has never been the first to resort to aggressive nuclear rhetoric.

The nation's current nuclear doctrine allows the use of atomic weapons only in "exceptional cases" and the current situation does not actually qualify as such, Putin explained. The president expressed hopes an all-out nuclear war will not break out, adding that such a conflict would result in "infinite casualties" for everyone.

The president also cautioned European NATO nations against increasingly belligerent rhetoric and actions, suggesting they are bound to suffer the most in case of a global nuclear conflict, arguing that the US will not actually help them.

"The Europeans have to think: if those with whom we exchange such [nuclear] blows are obliterated, would the Americans get involved in such an exchange, on the level of strategic weapons, or not? I very much doubt it," Putin stated.