A senior US diplomat has warned NATO allies that they really need to be alert for signs that Vladimir Putin will use what he considers a “non strategic tactical nuclear weapon” in a “managed” escalation.
During the opening session of an annual NATO arms control conference, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman warned of the possible escalation in the war in Ukraine.
Last month Putin announced that Russia will build a station to house tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus which is “his effort to use this threat in a managed way,” Sherman said.
The use of tactical nuclear weapons would be used by Putin for gains in the war which would also be used against military targets in Ukraine.
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Sherman said, “We have all watched and worried that Vladimir Putin would use what he considers a non-strategic tactical nuclear weapon or use some demonstration effect to escalate, but in a managed risk escalation.
“It is very critical to remain watchful of this.”
Chatham House foreign policy think tank who are a source of independent analysis and trusted dialogue have warned that Putin could order a “nuclear strike” on Ukraine if he cannot claim a “conventional victory.”
Putin would most likely resort to a “powerful destructive attack” to avoid “admission of a clear defeat” in Ukraine as he believes this would be a victory.
A leading Russian expert Keir Giles wrote, “A nuclear strike could be ordered if there is no longer any possibility of claiming conventional victory and a powerful destructive attack on Ukraine is perceived as the only means of avoiding admission of a clear defeat.
“One or more nuclear strikes could form part of a scorched earth response intended simply to cause misery and destruction in Ukraine in recognition of Russian failure to conquer it. The rationale being that if Russia can’t have Ukraine, nobody can.
“This would mirror, on a vastly greater scale, the behaviour of individual Russian soldiers and units when presented with the reality of life in Ukraine, where rather than aspiring to it themselves, they seek to destroy it.”