Threat of nuclear war is real, say experts analyzing Russia-Ukraine conflict

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The risk of a nuclear escalation from the Russia-Ukraine war is all too real, and we are in a heightened state of danger such as we have not seen in more than 30 years since the end of the Cold War, experts agree.

It could escalate to the use of long-range nuclear weapons, which would kill 90 million people instantly.said Daryl Kimball, director of the Gun Control Association and editor and contributor to the organization’s monthly magazine Arms Control Today during the video conference: How real is the threat of nuclear war?, organized by Ethnic Media Services.

He said even a nuclear threat could escalate beyond Ukraine’s borders, so we need to be on the lookout for short-range tactical warheads.

“The Russians have about 1,000, but there is no indication that they are moving them out of storage.”

He added that Putin’s nuclear threats are unprecedented in the post-cold war era, in that we have not seen a US or Russian leader make them.

“In my view, the clear purpose of Putin’s threats is to prevent direct US or NATO military intervention in Ukraine. Fortunately, President Biden has not matched Putin’s nuclear plants. He even canceled a scheduled ballistic missile flight test so as not to send the wrong message to Russia.”

He added that it is a fact that both Russian and US military strategies reserve the option of using nuclear weapons against non-nuclear threats in extreme circumstances.

“And that means that the conventional conflict between the United States and worked in NATO with Russia could go nuclear.”

Are we already in a Cold War?

Michael KlareProfessor Emeritus and Program Director Five College in global peace and security studies Hampshire CollegeHe said that since 2018, there is a new military strategy put in place by the US Department of Defense, engaged in long-term global competition with Russia and China.

“This was present and well understood before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. To what degree it influenced his decision to invade Ukraine, this will be something for future historians to decide.”

But he said it certainly poses a greater threat to Russia than existed before, in particular because of the weapons the US has been developing and deploying in Europe, aimed at targeting Russian military assets on Russian soil and destroying its military capabilities.

He added that conventional weapons could pose a strategic threat to Russia, potentially triggering the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

“The same thing is happening in Asia, where the US is developing its ability to use conventional weapons, including hypersonic missiles aimed at mainland China in the event of a conflict in the South China Sea or over Taiwan.

Therefore, he mentioned that this has created anxiety in both China and Russia; and it is the backdrop of Ukraine.”

He exposed that Congress has abandoned its spending priorities on infrastructure, education and health, instead only talking about increasing military spending and spending more money on US weapons designed to fight China and Russia.

“It is spending more and more on nuclear weapons that, if used, pose a greater threat to Russian forces.”

What are the scenarios for a major conflict

Gabriela Iveliz Rosa Hernandez, associate researcher at the Arms Control Association, said Russia’s problem is that it perceives that it is losing its influence in Ukraine.

“So now we have a Russia that has changed its military objectives and is running a slow and steady campaign, particularly in the eastern part of Ukraine and some parts of the south.”

Both sides have made it clear that they do not want to fight. “President Zelenskyy said that he really wants an agreement and to stop fighting.”

However, he noted that Russia seemed very determined to continue attacking Ukraine.

“So what are the scenarios for a broader conflict? … Russia is not happy because it is losing its influence in Ukraine and using a nuclear weapon would absolutely not help. Maybe he can try with these nuclear threats to coerce Ukraine, which is highly unlikely.”

How will this end?

He noted that the negotiations have completely stalled, with the last report of possible negotiations seen in early March, when a possible ceasefire and withdrawal of Russian troops was being discussed.

“There was an expectation, at least according to Ukrainian officials, that Ukraine expected compensation from Russia. And there was also the issue of giving security guarantees to Ukraine so that it feels safe and prevents Russia from taking its territory if it ever decides to do so.”

But currently, he said, he doesn’t see a ceasefire anytime soon.

the nuclear threat

Andrew Nynka, editor-in-chief of the weekly The Y Svoboda of the National Association of Ukraine, said to the question of how real it is that Russia uses nuclear weapons, that the current conflict is a physical war with tanks, bombs, weapons with the potential to use nuclear weapons.

“Ukrainians have shown themselves to be not only exceptionally brave in physical fighting, but also incredibly skilled in information fighting. And that includes the use of different memes and social networks. Obviously a big part of that is propaganda.”

And he added that Putin wants the Western world and his enemies to worry about the real possibility that he will use a nuclear weapon.

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