April 15, 2024

Columbus Post

Complete News World

Putin's threshold for using nuclear weapons is much lower than expected

Putin's threshold for using nuclear weapons is much lower than expected

Nuclear bombs as a last resort? Unnecessary. British newspaper Financial Times reports that Russia may resort to tactical nukes in the early stages of a conflict.

Remo Hess, Brussels / ch media

Russian President Vladimir Putin has a massive nuclear arsenal.Build: Keystone

When will Russia be ready to use one of its more than 5,000 nuclear weapons? Until now, it was thought to exist only in two scenarios: as a retaliatory strike if Russia itself were to be attacked with nuclear weapons. or second, if the existence of the Russian state is in grave danger as a result of a conventional attack. This is how President Vladimir Putin described Russia's nuclear doctrine last year.

Now she has The British newspaper “Financial Times” has published this, Putin's threshold for using tactical nuclear weapons is very low. These nuclear warheads are smaller than long-range strategic nuclear missiles and can be launched from mobile carriers such as warplanes, submarines, or land-based short- and medium-range missiles. Nevertheless, they can cause great destruction. According to US estimates, Russia is said to have at least 2,000 “mini nukes”.

Tactical nukes to stop ground attack

According to classified documents from 2008 to 2014, Russia ran through concrete training scenarios and operational policies aimed at using tactical nukes “in the early stages of a conflict.”

According to this, Russia would have to resort to tactical nukes to stop a ground attack on its territory or if an enemy destroyed twenty percent of its submarine-launched missile arsenal. In addition, there is a whole series of less specific considerations: stopping the escalation of the conflict, limiting the state's capacity for aggression, or preventing Russian troops from losing the war.

Such scenarios are being seen for the first time, and “the operational deterrent to using nuclear weapons if the desired result cannot be achieved by conventional means is very low,” said Alexander Gabov, director of Carnegie Russia. think tank in Berlin, to the FT.

On the documents, China is the enemy

The starting point for the scenarios outlined in the classified documents is a Chinese offensive on Russia's eastern border. They show that while Russia has good relations with China, it still harbors a great distrust of its neighbor. According to experts, even though the documents are more than ten years old and President Putin has publicly celebrated his solidarity with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the theory remains relevant today.

It's unclear what the simulation games aimed at China mean for the war in Ukraine. Putin has been elusive since the invasion in February. On the one hand, he described all scenarios of using atomic bombs as unrealistic. On the other hand, he boasted about the Russian arsenal and said that Russia would not hesitate to use all its means.

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2022 photo taken from a video provided by the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry shows a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile being launched from the airspace during the milli ...

An ICBM was launched during a training exercise in February 2022.Build: Keystone

Motto: escalate to de-escalate

According to nuclear weapons expert William Alberghi, Russia's military follows the motto “to increase leverage” when using small nuclear weapons, or to put it another way: to “temper” its adversaries. “They think the best option is to use a nuclear weapon, which they call 'deep doses', and at a time when the intensity of the fighting is still low,” Alberg told the FT. The conflict is over before it really begins.

Fear of a Russian nuclear threat characterized the war in Ukraine from the beginning. Germany in particular, initially with heavy weapons such as tanks and artillery, was long hesitant to support Kiev, citing Russia's ability to expand. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has now drawn a red line on the delivery of the German Taurus cruise missile.

According to nuclear expert Alberghi, China's scenario cannot be replicated one-to-one for Ukraine. While the limited use of nuclear weapons against a nuclear power like China may have a “moderating” effect, such use in Ukraine could contribute to escalation and lead to direct intervention by the United States or Great Britain, the scientist says. (aargauerzeitung.ch)

This may interest you: