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Russia Continues to Threaten the Use of Nuclear Weapons

The war between Russia and Ukraine is continuing with no end in sight, as peace talks have met nothing but dead ends. The threat of nuclear war, however, has never been so close and experts on foreign policy, noting that the use of nuclear weapons could be a last resort, but a very real threat. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to these experts, would only consider using such weapons if he felt like there was no other option and if he feels there is an “existential threat” to Russia or his regime. 

“They could be used, but in very, very specific situations,” former Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev told Fox News Digital. “If Russia or one of those countries really threatened in their hearts – existentially, that is … if NATO troops come to Moscow, then probably they will resort to nuclear weapons.” 

“But there is no existential threat to Russia under the present circumstances,” Kozyrev said.  

The Russian military has claimed that they have achieved its phase one goal and is focusing on securing the Donbas region. The move was labelled as a “consolation prize” after the Russian military failed to take Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. 

Brent Sadler, Senior Fellow of the Heritage Foundation, said that the Russian President could use a tactical nuclear strike if Russia suffered an “overwhelming military defeat” in Donbas. 

“That might be the case where a tactical nuclear weapon might be considered to demonstrate resolve and basically reverse any trends going on in the Russian military,” Sadler said. “I don’t see them using city killers, because that would definitely usher in World War III, and the assumption is if he does that, he’s attacking NATO.” 

Finland and Sweden have both indicated that they are looking to join NATO in June, when the current member nations meet in Madrid, Spain. This caused Putin to reiterate his threats of nuclear action. 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that “all countries should be concerned” about the threats made by Putin. 

Kozyrev disagreed, however, and said that the threats from Putin is a case of “barking” with “no way to bite” from the Russian President. 

“The responsible military commanders will do everything to avoid such a scenario and to prevent the use of nuclear weapons unless they believe there is an existential threat to their motherland,” he stressed. 

Kozyrev insisted that as long as Putin remains in power and there is no real threat to his regime, the use of nuclear weapons is unlikely, although Putin has stated in the past that the very existence of NATO is an existential threat to Russia. 

Sadler explained that the West has difficulty predicting Putin’s next move, as it projects its own thinking and logic onto Russia, of which he called a “real bad tendency” among leaders in the West. 

“For Putin, I think there is a tendency to mirror image by the United States,” Sadler explained. “We’re getting better by engagement, and the Ukrainian people are helping us understand better, but there’s a real danger there. 

“And it’s hard now because Putin has isolated himself, largely, and he’s only engaging with a very trusted group of advisors,” he added. 

Director of Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, Fredrick Kagan, stated that Putin is operating in a “bounded rationality.”  

“There’s definitely a fictional universe in which Putin is operating, and he has in-universe explanations for what he’s doing,” Kagan said. “And that’s a problem because it’s clearly not the case he believes everything the Kremlin says, which is what’s tricky about this.”  

Kagan said during the Cold War, the U.S worked under this framework and that at the time, officials were far more aware that Russia operates differently to the West. 

“We know it’s not the real world – that’s clear: he’s not making decisions that are rational in the real world, but we also know it’s not the universe of fiction the Kremlin spins,” Kagan added. “It’s closer to the real world than that, but how close to the real world is hard to say.”


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