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What if Russia uses nuclear weapons?
When announcing a draft to reinforce Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin accused the West of “nuclear blackmail,” claiming that “high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries” have endorsed the “possibility and admissibility” of using nuclear weapons against Russia. In the same remarks, Putin vowed to use “all available weapon systems” to defend Russia’s “territorial integrity” — a precarious position now that Moscow has annexed four more Ukrainian regions without even controlling the territories militarily.
In his annexation speech on September 30, Putin focused mainly on the evils of the West: centuries of European colonialism, decades of American militarism, progressive values that he described as Satanism, and what he called the U.S.-created precedent of twice attacking Japanese cities with nuclear bombs.
Considering that the Kremlin has repeatedly described its victory in Ukraine as essential to Russia’s existence, there are rising concerns about how the Putin regime will respond if its troops continue to lose ground in the war. Will he order a nuclear strike? The Naked Pravda asked two experts in nuclear weapon strategy and nuclear crises.
- (3:52) Dr. Olga Oliker, program director for Europe and Central Asia at the International Crisis Group in Brussels and cohost of the podcast “War & Peace“
- (16:18) Dr. Mariana Budjeryn, senior research associate with the Project on Managing the Atom at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center and author of the forthcoming book “Inheriting the Bomb: The Collapse of the USSR and the Nuclear Disarmament of Ukraine”
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