Below are some key points regarding the possibility – which many experts and Western diplomats consider remote – that Putin could actually use nuclear weapons.
WHAT DID THE RUSSIANS SAY ABOUT NUTRITIONAL WEAPONS IN THE UKRAIN WAR?
In a speech announcing the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Putin issued a disguised but unequivocal warning that if the West intervened in what he called a “special military operation”, it could use nuclear weapons in response.
“No matter who tries to stand in our way or … create threats to our country and people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately and the consequences will be like you have never seen in your entire history,” he said. . said according to the Kremlin translation.
Three days later, on February 27, Putin ordered his military command to put Russia’s nuclear defense forces on alert, citing what he called NATO leaders’ aggressive statements and Western economic sanctions against Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, an experienced diplomat, has also spoken out about the threat of a nuclear war, although he said Moscow was doing its best to prevent it.
“I would not want to increase this risk artificially. Many people would want it. The risk is serious, real. And we must not underestimate it,” he said last week, prompting the State Department to call his remarks “maximum irresponsibility.” “.
Although Washington has not seen any evidence that Russian nuclear forces are in a state of emergency, analysts and Western officials warned against rejecting the allegations, saying Putin could use nuclear weapons if he thought he was in it. angle to take in Ukraine or if NATO enters the war.
WHAT HAS THE WESTERN SAID ABOUT PUTIN’S MYSTERED THREATS?
U.S. officials quickly called Putin’s remarks about putting the Russian nuclear force on alert dangerous, escalating and totally unacceptable, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg criticized them as aggressive and irresponsible.
US officials, however, immediately made it clear that they had not seen any signs that Russian forces had changed their nuclear position, and the US military said it saw no need to change its own.
On February 28, US President Joe Biden told the United States not to worry about a nuclear war with Russia. Biden answered the question of whether US citizens should be concerned about a flare-up of nuclear war and said “no”.
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP OF RUSSIANS USING NUCLEAR WEAPONS?
Biden’s comments seemed to reflect a widespread view among US experts and Western officials that Russia’s likelihood of using nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war is slim.
“Since 1945, every leader of a nuclear power … has rejected the use of nuclear weapons in battle for good reasons,” Gideon Rose, former editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, wrote last week.
“Putin is no exception, he does not work from a soft heart but from a hard head. He knows that unusual retaliation and widespread criticism would follow, without a similar policy justification,” he added.
The main purpose of Russia’s oval threats of a nuclear attack appears to be to deter Washington and its NATO allies from participating directly in the war, experts and Western diplomats said.
“They are not credible,” said one Western diplomat, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “He is trying to intimidate the West.”
HOW CAN RUSSIANS USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS?
Although Western nations have poured weapons into Ukraine since the invasion, Biden said last year that it was “not on the table to put US troops on the ground in Ukraine.”
The United States and its allies have no desire to go to war with Russia, let alone to do something that could ignite a nuclear war.
If Russia were to use nuclear weapons, experts saw a number of possibilities, ranging from an explosion across the Black Sea or uninhabited parts of Ukraine to demonstrating its ability to attack a Ukrainian military base or city.
However, the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine could endanger Russian troops and inflict a radioactive blow on Russia itself.
HOW CAN THE WEST TASTE?
Some experts said that Washington could choose a conventional military response rather than a relative nuclear attack, which could harm US allies or lead to a further escalation of nuclear threat to Europe or its home country.
“What I would suggest instead is that the United States and NATO respond with overwhelming traditional military, political and diplomatic power to further isolate Russia and try to end the conflict without escalating into a full-scale nuclear war,” said Daryl Kimball. from Arms. Control Association, a non-profit organization that seeks to educate the public about arms control.
HOW could a Russian strike change the nuclear landscape?
NATO could try to redesign its US missile shield in Poland and Romania to shoot down Russian missiles in the future. NATO has long said that the current design aims to combat missiles from Iran, Syria and fraudulent entities in the Middle East.
It is still unclear whether the Russian attack could make other nuclear powers such as India and Pakistan more likely to use such weapons. If it led to global condemnation, experts said it could reduce the likelihood of others using nuclear weapons.
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