Kremlin’s Nuclear Blackmail: Would Putin Really Act on His Threats? 

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Kremlin’s Nuclear Blackmail: Would Putin Really Act on His Threats? 

Путін Шойгу Герасимов / Photo: Пресслужба Кремля

TSN.ua decides to collect all pieces of information and opinions about Russia’s threats discussed in Ukraine and in the Western countries.

Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to threaten the world with the use of nuclear weapons. The Kremlin leaders claims that it’s Western countries that have started the "nuclear blackmail game" against Russia, and so in case of any threat to its territorial integrity, the Russian Federation is ready "to use any means at its disposal”. When speaking of the "territorial integrity of the Russian Federation," Putin also clearly hints at the Ukrainian territories seized during the invasion.

Ukrainian government take Putin's statements seriously, while the U.S. and the EU remind the Kremlin of the possible catastrophic consequences of this decision. In the meantime, Moscow continues to whip up hysteria to show that its threats are not just a bluff.

TSN.ua has decided to find out whether the nuclear threat is real thing.

Russia Continues to Intimidate Ukraine and the West

Dmitriy Medvedev, the Deputy Head of the Russian Security Council, who is trying to outdo the late Vladimir Zhirinovsky in the race of scandalous statements, expressed confidence that the West would not interfere if nuclear weapons were used against Ukraine.

"If the threat to Russia exceeds the established danger limit, we will have to respond. No one will ask for permission, there will be no long consultations. This is definitely not a bluff," Medvedev noted.

"The demagogues in Europe and across the ocean are not going to die in a nuclear apocalypse. Therefore, they will swallow the use of any weapons in the current conflict," he said.

Earlier, Medvedev threatened to use "all available methods of self-defense" after "referendums" held in the seized parts of Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, in his turn, said that all Russian laws and doctrines, including the use of nuclear weapons, would also apply to the territories of Ukraine annexed through fake "referendums," if they are ratified in the Russian constitution.

What Does Zelenskyi’s Team Say?

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyi takes Putin's threats very seriously.

"Maybe yesterday it was a bluff. Now, it could be a reality. He wants to scare the whole world. These are the first steps of his nuclear blackmail. I don't think he's bluffing. I think the world is deterring it and containing this threat. We need to keep putting pressure on him and not allow him to continue", the Ukrainian President said in his interview for CBS News.

Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the AFU, said in his article for Ukrinform that we couldn’t yet completely rule out the possibility of the leading countries of the world being drawn directly into a "limited" nuclear conflict, behind which the prospect of World War III is already directly visible.

In this connection, Zaluzhnyi urged all global leaders, and not just Ukraine’s allies, to discourage Russian attempts to use tactical nuclear weapons.

"Any attempts at practical steps to use TNWs must be thwarted using the entire arsenal of means at the disposal of the countries of the world," he insisted.

Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba described Putin's and Lavrov's statements about the possible use of nuclear weapons as "completely irresponsible and unacceptable.

Mykhailo Podoliak, the Adviser to the Head of Ukraine’s Presidential Office, also believes that other nuclear states should respond to Putin's threats.

" Veiled nuclear weapons threats from UN rostrum by a UNSC member — a great mockery of global institutions. RF nuclear threats are not Ukraine’s problem, but the whole world’s. Members of Nuclear Club must clearly outline consequences for Russia. "Pandora's box" must be closed", he emphasized.

West Is Carefully Watching the Situation

On September 26th, Karine Jean-Pierre, press secretary of the US President Joe Biden's Administration, commented on the possibility of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons and assessed the risks associated with of Putin's threats.

" So, as far as any evidence or the chances [of use of tactical nuclear weapon by Russia] — look, we haven’t seen that at this time.  We take these threats, though, very seriously.  But we have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture at this time", Karine Jean-Pierre said.

She also reminded that both President Biden himself and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan noted that Putin's nuclear threats against Europe were irresponsible and reckless.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was harsher on the subject. According to him, the United States "has been very clear with the Russians, publicly and privately, to stop talking about nuclear weapons”.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said the threat of nuclear weapons should not be underestimated. According to him, the war has reached "a dangerous point”.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called Putin's statements “an act of desperation”.

"The recent decisions by the Russian leadership are an act of desperation. With his most recent decisions makes everything much worse. Putin has from the start completely underestimated Ukrainians’ will to resist as well as the unity and determination of Kyiv’s allies", the German leader said.

Would Putin Ever Act on His Threats: Expert Opinions 

Military expert Oleh Zhdanov expressed the opinion that the U.S. could launch a preventive strike against Russia because of nuclear blackmail.

"Putin is waving nuclear weapons around, but the U.S. is showing clear confidence that there will be a response. It is believed that Joe Biden has taken the same position as Kennedy did in his time, when there was the Caribbean crisis. Back then he said that if the USSR used nuclear weapons, America would retaliate. Now Joe Biden has said the same thing to the Putin’s administration. I stress that if there is an attempt to use nuclear weapons, the United States can launch a preemptive strike against the Russian Federation, and not only with conventional weapons but also with nuclear ones", Zhdanov explained.

The military expert reminded that in order to do this the US had created special airplanes "hunting" nuclear missiles.

Former Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin believes that Putin may well use nuclear weapons as a "last argument."

"I take Putin's threats seriously, I consider the use of nuclear weapon unlikely, but I’m not sure he won't ever use it. I know that our allies also carefully consider this concern and understand very well that Putin’s head is basically a mess of unlimited power, revanchism, rewriting history and understanding that his regime will crumble if he goes any further," he says.

Klimkin hopes that "Putin's environment understands that when put against the wall, he may do anything, and they will be held accountable for it together with him."

Russian political analyst and publicist Andrey Piontkovskiy stressed the West had threatened Putin with physical destruction if he uses nuclear weapons.

"Putin was told that following the use of nuclear weapons, the West would not capitulate, but on the contrary would also be ready to use tactical nuclear weapons and other means and would deliver a crushing blow to Russia, including Putin personally. Simply put, he was warned he would be killed, if he used nuclear weapons. He would lose his own life. Well, he’s already lost this game," Piontkovskiy sky said.

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