Putin’s nuclear threats raise the risk of disaster

Speaking in a rare televised address on Wednesday, Putin warned that if Russia’s territorial integrity were threatened, the Kremlin “will certainly use all means at its disposal.” me to protect Russia and our people. It’s not a hoax.”

Gavriil Grigorov | Afp | beautiful pictures

Analysts and campaigners warn the release of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ultimatum to the West significantly increases the risk of nuclear conflict, with world leaders condemning what they described as “reckless” and “irresponsible” threats.

Speak in one rare TV address on Wednesday, Putin Calling in more forces for the war in Ukraine and warned that if Russia’s territorial integrity is threatened, the Kremlin “will certainly use all means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. That is not the case. a hoax.”

It is widely understood as a threat that Putin is prepared to use nuclear weapons to escalate the war after a string of Ukrainian successes.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday underscored the Kremlin’s nuclear stance, saying any weapon in Russia’s arsenal could be used to defend its territory – including strategic nuclear weapons.

It appeared as pro-Moscow regional leaders in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine Notice of referendum about joining Russia. Voting is expected to take place in Russian-controlled regions such as Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, reported occupies about 15% of the territory of Ukraine.

The outcome of the referendums is said to have been predetermined by the Kremlin, prompting the US and its allies to denounce them as “fake. “

Political analysts said that the Kremlin could then view Ukraine’s military action against these four regions as an attack against Russia itself.

“The citizens of Russia can be sure that the territorial integrity of our Fatherland, our independence and our freedom will be guaranteed, I stress again, with all the means at our disposal. me,” Putin said.

Putin’s threats increase the risk of escalation into nuclear conflict. This is extremely dangerous and irresponsible.

Beatrice Fihn


Andrey Baklitskiy, a senior researcher on weapons of mass destruction and other strategic weapons programs at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Studies.

“Coming from the sole decision-maker regarding Russia’s nuclear weapons, this will have to be taken seriously,” Baklitskiy said, noting Putin’s citation of “territorial integrity ” is difficult to determine because the Kremlin is planning to absorb. four regions of Ukraine.

“None of this means that Russia is going to use nuclear,” Baklitskiy said. “This would be a truly world-changing decision.”

“And it is unclear whether such a move would lead to any desired outcome for [President] Putin… But expanding the conditions to be usable in the context of the ongoing war is a big gamble,” he added.

‘Remove the taboo’

US President Joe Biden condemn Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons and calls on allied leaders of the United Nations to reject Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at UN headquarters in New York City on Wednesday, Biden accused the Kremlin of making “reckless” and “irresponsible” threats, saying, “a nuclear war is not can win and never proceed.”

His comments echo those of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who told Reuters on Wednesday that the 30-nation Western defense alliance would stay calm and “not engage in reckless and dangerous nuclear rhetoric like President Putin.”

Beatrice Fihn, Nobel laureate and executive director of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, urged political leaders to renew efforts to eliminate all nuclear weapons by signing and ratifying standardization of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Mikhail Svetlov | beautiful pictures

Putin has alluded to Russia’s nuclear weapons at various points in the conflict with Ukraine. However, Western leaders remain skeptical about whether Moscow will resort to deploying weapons of mass destruction.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told German media on Wednesday that he did not believe the world would allow Putin to use nuclear weapons.

Beatrice Fihn, Nobel laureate and executive director of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, told CNBC that Putin’s “extremely dangerous and irresponsible” threats greatly increase the risk escalate into nuclear conflict.

“Threats to use nuclear weapons lower their threshold of use,” Fihn said by email. “The ensuing discussion by politicians and commentators about the possible use of nuclear weapons by Russia and the possibility of a nuclear response without discussing the devastating humanitarian impact of the use of even nuclear weapons. so-called ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons are eroding the taboo against their use.”

Fihn called on the international community to “unequivocally condemn any and all nuclear threats” and called on political leaders to renew efforts to eliminate all nuclear weapons by signing and ratifying standard Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

‘Not return’

Max Hess, a fellow at the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies, described Putin’s nuclear threats as a “very important announcement.”

“Now, the real threat from Putin’s speech is that he’s prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory, including the territory it intends to annex,” he told CNBC. on “Street Signs Europe”.

“This includes not only the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the traditional Donbas, but also the whole of Zaporizhzhia and all the Kherson regions – Ukraine is still disputed and where the Russians don’t control all of it.”

She added: “What does this mean for the territories that are still under Ukraine’s control in relation to Putin’s threats?

Analyst says economic war against Russia is still possible

According to Timothy Ash, emerging markets strategist at BlueBay Asset Management, if Putin used so-called tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, there would be “no return” and “no negotiations”. .

In such a scenario, Putin “ends up with the West forever, and most likely then China, India, South Africa, the BRICS and the rest of the non-aligned world also turn their backs on him. there,” said Ash. The acronym BRICS refers to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

A weapon of mass destruction, or WMD, “is a deterrent,” says Ash. “Once it is used, its power is truly negated.”

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