The use of nukes will have consequences. The US has been warning the Russians in private for months

The use of nukes will have consequences. The US has been warning the Russians in private for months
The use of nukes will have consequences. The US has been warning the Russians in private for months

Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated this week that Russia is ready to annex territories in eastern and southern Ukraine and incorporate them into Russia. He said he was not joking when he said he would use all means at Russia’s disposal to defend Russia’s territorial integrity, which is seen as a veiled threat to use a nuclear weapon.

According to WP sources, the Biden administration is deliberately keeping warnings about the consequences of a nuclear attack vague, leaving the Kremlin worried about how Washington might respond. This is a “strategic ambiguity” tactic known in the field of nuclear deterrence.

The State Department was involved in private warning communications with Russia, but WP sources did not say who was sending them or what their scope was. It is not clear whether the US sent such messages even after Putin’s speech with a veiled threat on Wednesday. According to American sources, however, these messages were sent regularly in the past months.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said on Thursday that eastern Ukraine would be “admitted to Russia and security measures there will be strengthened” after the referendums. To defend this annexed territory, according to former President Medvedev, Russia can use not only newly mobilized troops, but also “any weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and those using new principles,” a reference to hypersonic weapons. “Russia has chosen a direction and there is no going back,” said Medvedev.

The Biden administration said after Putin’s speech that this is not the first time Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons since it went to war against Ukraine in February. But WP writes that the recent statements of the Russian leadership are more specific than the previous ones and are made at a time of difficulties of the Russian army on the battlefield. According to the newspaper, the last one was more of a warning to warn the US and its allies not to go too far in helping Ukraine.

But Putin’s recent words suggest that Russia is considering using a nuclear arsenal on the Ukrainian battlefield to maintain its gains and force Kyiv and its backers to capitulate, said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association.

“Everyone must realize that this is, if not the worst, then one of the most serious situations to threaten the use of nuclear weapons in decades. The consequences of even so-called ‘limited nuclear war’ would be absolutely catastrophic,” Kimball said.

Deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Vadym Skibicky, said on Thursday that it was possible that Russia would use nuclear weapons against Ukraine “to stop the (Ukrainian) offensive and destroy” Ukraine. “It is a threat to other countries as well. The explosion of a tactical nuclear weapon will fall not only on Ukraine, but also on the Black Sea region,” Skibickyj said.

The Ukrainians are making it clear that even a Russian nuclear attack will not force them to capitulate and will have just the opposite effect. “To threaten the Ukrainians with nuclear weapons? Putin has not yet understood with whom he has this honor,” said the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhaylo Podolyak.

The article is in Czech

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