(John Ransom, Headline USA) The Kremlin has reiterated that it would consider the use of nuclear weapons if any of Russia’s vital interests were in jeopardy because of the Ukraine war, according to the New York Post.
One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies warned the US on Wednesday that the world could spiral towards a nuclear dystopia if Washington pressed on with what the Kremlin casts as a long-term plot to destroy Russia. https://t.co/6v7RjTI9bj
— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) March 24, 2022
“President Putin intends to make the world listen to and understand our concerns,” a Kremlin spokesman said when asked if Putin would use the nuclear option, said the Post.
“So if it is an existential threat for our country, then [the nuclear arsenal] can be used in accordance with our concept,” he warned.
The Kremlin is most likely referring to a situation in which Western troops have amassed in a country bordering Ukraine in an attempt to either threaten Russia or to intercede in the conflict.
In a conflict that has been driven by the stark visual depictions of suffering Ukrainians, however, there aren’t likely to be any massive mushroom clouds of yore. Technology has come a long way since the US used nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to force the Japanese surrender in World War II.
“Some argue that the Russian president may consider using tactical, or nonstrategic, nuclear weapons—which are smaller and can be used over shorter distances—to overcome a difficult combat situation or to bring the conflict to an end on terms he considers favourable,” said the New Statesman.
But for the type of small squad fighting that’s currently going on, even a small package of nuclear weapons would have a devastating effect, designed to take out masses of men and material.
Such a strike would make sense if, for example, a hostile force that was using an airfield to enforce a no-fly zone.
“Others see potential for him to launch a limited nuclear strike against the United States or a NATO country if they intervene militarily on Kyiv’s behalf,” said the New Statesman.
What Russian President Vladimir Putin deems an “existential threat” remains to be seen.
One potential limitation that he faces is that, unlike in the United States, no one person has control to the so-called nuclear button in Russia
“That means that, in contrast to the United States, two physical suitcases that are controlled by two different people are required to use nuclear weapons,” said War on the Rocks.
To use nuclear weapons, Putin would have to have the support of at least one top military leader, which isn’t necessarily assured.
But that may be faint comfort to the majority of people, including the experts, who so far have failed to adequately predict what Putin will do next.