Espreso. Global

Russia won't go for nuclear escalation – Ukraine’s intelligence chief Budanov

21 June, 2023 Wednesday
22:31

Chief of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Main Intelligence Directorate Kyrylo Budanov believes that Russia will not use nuclear weapons in war against Ukraine

Budanov said this in an interview with The Economist.

The intelligence chief emphasized that he has a unique opportunity to assess the risks of nuclear escalation due to his nine years of experience in studying the Russian war, so he answered the question about the risks of nuclear escalation: “As the head of intelligence, I’m telling you straight out, it’s not going to happen. For all my dislike of the Russian Federation, there are not many idiots running the country.”

Budanov insisted that peace is impossible without Russia's strategic defeat and the reformatting of the government there.

“Either everyone will get out of the war at the same time, or one side will lose and the other side will win. There are no other options,” he added. 

What is known about Russia's nuclear weapons in Belarus

Tactical nuclear weapons are small nuclear warheads and delivery systems designed for use on the battlefield or for a limited strike. They are designed to destroy enemy targets in a specific area without causing massive radioactive fallout. Strategic nuclear weapons have a greater radius of destruction and are delivered by cruise and ballistic missiles and aircraft.

On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that a storage facility for Russian tactical nuclear weapons would be built in Belarus by July. Belarus' self-proclaimed president Lukashenko also mentioned that Belarus could have strategic nuclear weapons if needed.

In April, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the transfer of Iskanders, which can carry nuclear weapons, to Belarus. Towards the end of May, the Belarusian army conducted exercises involving the use of Iskander missiles.

On June 14, Lukashenko claimed that nuclear weapons from Russia started to arrive in Belarus, but clarified it would only be used if Belarus faced a direct threat.

Also, on June 16, Russian leader Vladimir Putin  announced that they had transferred some of their nuclear arsenal to Belarus, with the rest to follow by the end of the year.

Later, military analysts from the Institute for the Study of War said that Kremlin’s statements confirm Russia's military control over Belarus.

However, on June 20, the Chief of Ukrainian Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, denied the information suggesting that Russia had moved nuclear warheads to Belarus.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy believes that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin fears for his life and therefore may not use nuclear weapons, but the man is out of touch with reality.

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