Speaking in a rare, televised address on Wednesday, Putin 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. Not a hoax.”
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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ultimatum to the West significantly increases the risk of a nuclear conflict, analysts and campaigners have warned, with world leaders describing it as “reckless” and “irresponsible” threats.
speaking in rare television address Putin on Wednesday Called additional forces for war in Ukraine And warned that if Russia’s territorial integrity is threatened, the Kremlin “will certainly use all means at our disposal to defend Russia and our people. This is not a hoax.”
This was widely interpreted as a threat that Putin was willing to use nuclear weapons to advance the war. After a series of Ukrainian successes,
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday reiterated the Kremlin’s nuclear stance, saying any weapon in Russia’s arsenal could be used to defend its territories – including strategic nuclear weapons.
This comes in the form of pro-Moscow regional leaders in the regions of southern and eastern Ukraine. referendum announced On joining Russia. Voting is expected to take place in Russian-controlled regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya. Allegedly About 15% of Ukrainian territory.
The result of the referendum is widely believed to be pre-determined by the Kremlin, prompting the US and its allies to condemn them as “show off,
Political analysts say the Kremlin may view Ukrainian military action against these four regions as an attack against Russia.
“The citizens of Russia can be sure that the territorial integrity of our Motherland, our freedom and independence will be ensured, I emphasize this again, we have all the means,” Putin said.
“Those statements go beyond the Russian nuclear doctrine, which suggests the first use of Russian in a conventional war only when the existence of the state is threatened,” said Andrey Baklitsky, a senior researcher in the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Other Strategic Weapons Program. Told. United Nations Disarmament Research Institute.
“Coming from someone who has sole decision-making power about Russian nuclear weapons, this has to be taken seriously,” Baklitsky said, noting that Putin’s quote of “territorial integrity” was difficult to determine. that the Kremlin is planning to absorb four Ukrainian territories.
“None of this means that Russia will resort to nuclear use. It will be a truly world-changing decision,” Baklitsky said.
“And it is not clear whether such a move would even yield any desired results. [President] Putin … but extending the terms for possible access in the midst of an ongoing war is a big gamble,” he said. “Without all of us, including Russia, we would be safe.”
US President Joe Biden condemned Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons and urged allied UN leaders to reject Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on Wednesday, Biden accused the Kremlin of making “reckless” and “irresponsible” threats and said, “A nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.” “
His remarks echoed the remarks of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who told Reuters on Wednesday That the Western Defensive Coalition of 30 countries would remain calm and “will not engage in the same reckless and dangerous nuclear rhetoric as President Putin.”
Nobel laureate and executive director of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons Beatrice Finn urged political leaders to renew efforts to get rid of all nuclear weapons by signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images
Putin has indicated Russia’s nuclear weapons at various points during the conflict with Ukraine. Still, there is doubt among Western leaders whether Moscow will resort to deploying weapons of mass destruction.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the German media On Wednesday he did not believe the world would allow Putin to use nuclear weapons.
Beatrice Finn, Nobel laureate and executive director of the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons, told CNBC that Putin’s “incredibly dangerous and irresponsible” threats have significantly increased the risk of a nuclear conflict escalating.
“Threats to use nuclear weapons lower the threshold for their use,” Finn said via email. “Politicians and commentators about Russia’s possibility of using nuclear weapons and potential nuclear reactions are eroding the prohibition against their use without even discussing the devastating human impact of the use of so-called ‘tactical’ nuclear weapons “
The Finn called on the international community to “unequivocally condemn any and all nuclear threats” and urged political leaders to sign and ratify renewing efforts to get rid of all nuclear weapons. treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons,
Max Hess, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute think tank, described Putin’s nuclear threats as a “very important announcement”.
“Now, the real threat from Putin’s speech was that he was ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory, including those areas, he told CNBC’s “Street Science Europe.”
“This includes not only the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the traditional Donbass, but all Zaporizhzhya and all Kherson – Ukrainian territories that are heavily contested and where the Russians do not control their entirety.”
“What this means for the areas that are still under Ukrainian control in connection with Putin’s threats remains untold,” Hess said.
If Putin does use a so-called strategic nuclear weapon in Ukraine, there will be “no retreat” and “no negotiations”, according to emerging markets strategist Timothy Ashe at Bluebay Asset Management.
In such a scenario, Putin “ends with the West forever, and possibly even if the Chinese, India, South Africa, BRICS and the rest of the non-aligned world turn against him,” Ashe said. The abbreviation BRICS refers to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
A weapon of mass destruction, or WMD, “is a deterrent,” Ash said. “Once it’s used up, its power is really negated.”