Russia keeps escalating nuclear war threats
As Russia suffers more territorial losses on the ground in eastern Ukraine, figures close to the Putin regime are escalating both the frequency and blatancy of their threats to use nuclear weapons. Ramzan Kadyrov, head of Russia's region of Chechnya who has mobilized his regional forces to fight in Ukraine, stated on social media platform Telegram Oct. 1: "In my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken, right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons." (Reuters)
Kadyrov's comment came as Russian forces retreated from Lyman, a key city in Donetsk oblast—mere days after Putin had declared the entire oblast as annexed. "In connection with the creation of a threat of encirclement, allied troops were withdrawn from the settlement of Krasny Liman to more advantageous lines," Moscow's Defense Ministry said, using the Russian name for the city. (CNN)
Former president Dmitry Medvedev, who has repeatedly made blatant nuclear threats in recent weeks, on Sept. 27 wrote on Telegram that such threats are "certainly not a bluff." He said that if Kyiv continues its offensive on annexed territory, Russia could be "forced to use the most fearsome weapon against the Ukrainian regime which had committed a large-scale act of aggression that is dangerous for the very existence of our state."
Medvedev expressed his confidence that the West would not retaliate in kind to a Russian nuclear strike on Ukraine: "I believe that NATO will not directly intervene in the conflict even in this situation. After all, the security of Washington, London, Brussels is much more important for the North Atlantic Alliance than the fate of a dying Ukraine that no one needs." He added: "The supply of modern weapons is just a business for Western countries. Overseas and European demagogues are not going to perish in a nuclear apocalypse. Therefore, they will swallow the use of any weapon in the current conflict."
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Oct. 2 that he believes the Russian threats "could be a reality." In Washington, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan only stated vaguely that the US will "respond decisively" to any Russian use of nuclear weapons. (Reuters, The Hill)