Today, the world’s indifference to the prospect of a nuclear disaster is truly insane.
Over the past few months, Western experts have downplayed the possibility that the Ukraine war will lead to a nuclear escalation between Russia and the West. Since Putin first placed Russia Nuclear arsenal on alert back in February, many experts argued that he was just trying to throw “your opponent out of balance”.
However, Putin’s most recent threats to use such weapons – made in a televised speech on Wednesday morning – not to be taken lightly, regardless of his motives or intentions. He said Western officials had threatened Russia with nuclear weapons, an allegation that US President Joe Biden denied in his address to the United Nations General Assembly hours later. Putin also announced partial mobilization and his support for upcoming referendums in four Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine that could pave the way for their annexation by Moscow.
One thing the West denies, for example, is unrelated to the threat to fire Putin, a secretary. However, any chance that he could fire nukes should be taken seriously, no matter how remote the possibility.
In fact, the West has so far avoided imposing a no-fly zone on Ukraine or transferring long-range missiles and other weapons that could threaten Russian territory, fearing the Kremlin’s retaliation against Europe.
However, the sophisticated military support that the United States and its allies provided to Kyiv began to shift the balance of power on the battlefield in favor of Ukraine. The mounting Russian losses of the past few weeks are clearly putting Putin in a quandary. He is angry, humiliated and is losing influence at home and abroad. That is why he has decided to mobilize another 300,000 troops to try to reverse his defeats in Ukraine.
However, like the Russian and American wars of the past – whether in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere – an increase in troops may buy him time but not necessarily win him in the battle. war. That is why he combined his decision to increase troops with a nuclear warning, making the West pay attention: back off or face the consequences.
Hence the gravity of Putin’s threat to use weapons of mass destruction. The threat was “not a hoax” as he put it, nor was it a lie; it sounds desperate and intentional. It is also the largest escalation since the invasion began seven months ago and the largest mobilization since the end of the Cold War.
Some are now voicing alarm about Putin’s potential use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield. Or as an analyst put it: “Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons if Ukraine continues its offensive activities”. Indeed, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday said the Kremlin could use tactical nuclear weapons to protect its occupation. parts of Ukraine that it annexed.
In theory, the use of these weapons, which are short-range and designed for limited strikes, sounds unfeasible given Ukraine’s geographical proximity and its nuclear doctrine. Russia emphasizes the use of nuclear weapons for defense or when Russia’s very existence is threatened.
That’s why Putin’s sense of victimhood, real or imagined, makes escalation more unsettling than ever. In his speech on Wednesday, he described his own destructive war on Ukraine as a Western plot to destroy Russia – an act of NATO-led aggression against all Russians, poses an existential threat to the country.
Whether he really believes it or not is somewhat irrelevant. He has turned the West and Ukraine evil, and is driving Russian public opinion towards a larger war of unknown consequences.
Putin also accused the Ukrainian government of holding Europe hostage for a nuclear attack by bombing the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant under Russian control. The Ukrainians believe that it is Russia who is carrying out the shelling.
This is truly and unforgivably tragic, lest we also forget that Eastern Europe and parts of Russia continue to suffer from the influence of Chornobyl, 36 years after the nuclear disaster at the Ukraine nuclear plant.
In short, the risk of a nuclear disaster is real if the war continues to escalate, whether by design or default; whether resulting from the strategic or tactical use of nuclear weapons, or from the bombing of a nuclear plant.
None of it is inevitable and all are completely avoidable. The nuclear powers have lost or ended conventional wars in the past without resorting to nuclear weapons. That is why the world powers have a duty to prevent escalation and find a diplomatic solution sooner rather than later.
Putin may be directly responsible for this war of aggression in Ukraine, but the West’s insistence on NATO widening its borders with Russia and cutting their swords in Ukraine is also horribly provocative and reckless. .
War is a disaster for everyone, especially Ukraine. It will get worse. That’s why cooler heads must prevail. Before it’s too late. Those who still hope for victory must remember that there is no victory in a nuclear war.