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Putin finds justification for use of nuclear weapons - ISW

22 June, 2024 Saturday
10:55

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has equated defeat in Ukraine with the destruction of Russia's statehood, which, according to the doctrine, allows him to use nuclear weapons

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This is stated in a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Analysts note that Putin continues to voice nuclear threats as part of his information campaign aimed at preventing Western countries from further supporting Ukraine and undermining the international community's efforts to agree on its strategic vision of victory in Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.

For example, in a speech to Russian graduating officers on June 21, Putin said that  Russia plans to further develop its nuclear triad as a "guarantee of strategic deterrence" and to maintain the balance of power in the world.

The dictator noted that Russia is also working to increase its typical combat capabilities and defense industrial production.

In addition, during a press conference in Vietnam on June 20, Putin said that Russia is considering "lowering the threshold" for nuclear use in Russia's nuclear doctrine and that a possible future strategic defeat of Russian forces on the battlefield in Ukraine would result in the "end of Russia's statehood."

"Putin may have falsely equated a Russian defeat in Ukraine with an existential threat to the Russian state in order to invoke an "exceptional case" in which existing Russian nuclear doctrine would allow for the use of nuclear weapons," the Institute emphasizes.

Analysts also believe that Putin's June 21 statement is a continuation of his recent information operation aimed at sabotaging Western efforts to develop a common strategic goal - a decisive victory over the Russian invasion, which the West had intended to be the ultimate goal of the war in Ukraine.

"The threat of nuclear escalation is a core aspect of Russia's ability to manipulate foreign decision-makers and is highly unlikely to result in actual nuclear escalation due to nuclear and conventional deterrence," the ISW report says.

  • Recently, National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Lytvynenko said that Putin might decide to use nuclear weapons only if Russia is on the verge of a catastrophic defeat.

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