Russian commander suggests nukes as ‘only’ option to win war

A Russian commander suggested that using nuclear weapons might be the only way Russia can be victorious in its war against Ukraine.

The comments come more than nine months after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine in February in hopes of a quick victory against its eastern European neighbor.

However, Ukraine’s vigorous defense efforts, backed by Western humanitarian and military assistance, have blunted Moscow’s military advances. Putin’s troops continue to fight to achieve substantial goals.

Concerns have arisen during the tense conflict over whether Putin would order the use of nuclear weapons if he believed he had no other way of winning the war or if the war grew into a larger conflict with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Alexander Khodakovsky, commander of Russia’s Donetsk militia, appeared on state television to point to nuclear weapons as one way Russia could win the war. Video of his performance was translated and Posted on Twitter by BBC reporter Francis Scarr.

Russian commander proposes nuclear weapons "the only option"
Above is an image of Vladimir Putin next to nuclear weapons being paraded at a Moscow parade on June 24, 2020. A Russian commander suggested that nuclear weapons were the Kremlin’s “only option” to be victorious in its war against Ukraine.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images; KONSTANTIN ZAVRAZHIN/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

He said Russian military authorities recognize their resources “have their limits” and suggested they might have to turn to nuclear weapons to defeat Ukraine.

“Everyone realizes that the next spiral of escalation can only be the nuclear level of war,” said Chodakowski.

Russia can station nuclear weapons if NATO crosses “certain limits” and becomes “directly” involved in the military conflict, Khodakowski said. So far, the West has limited its involvement in the war to providing humanitarian and military support to Ukraine, as sending in troops would likely lead to an escalation of the war.

He acknowledged that Russia was not able to fight with conventional weapons against all of NATO.

“We don’t have the capability — we’re a country that’s now fighting the entire western world, and we don’t have the resources to defeat the NATO bloc by conventional means,” he said. “But that’s why we have nuclear weapons. We built them specifically for situations like this. That’s why there’s only one option.”

Despite Chodakovsky’s comments, NATO has not indicated any plans for direct involvement in the Ukraine war.

What Russia Said About Using Nuclear Weapons In The Ukraine War

Russia has given mixed signals about the potential for using nuclear weapons throughout the conflict. Authorities have officially dismissed the idea of ​​using these weapons, but state television, which has close ties to the Kremlin, has taunted the West with the possibility of a nuclear strike.

In September, Putin issued a threat against countries he believes are trying to “blackmail” him with their nuclear weapons, an apparent blow to Western countries when he ordered a partial mobilization of troops to escalate the war.

Both Russia and the West have presented their respective nuclear weapon arsenals as deterrents to prevent attacks that would cause widespread suffering.

“Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the tide can also turn in their direction,” Putin said.

In October, however, Putin downplayed the possibility of using nuclear weapons, saying it made “no sense, politically or militarily,” according to the Associated Press.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned last week that Putin is expanding and modernizing his nuclear arsenal.

news week has asked the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine for comment. Russian commander suggests nukes as ‘only’ option to win war

Rick Schindler

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