Threats of nuclear weapons: Russia conducts intense operation against the West

, 14:03, 10.03.2024
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

An American think tank, the Institute for War Studies (ISW), downplays concerns about Russia using nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Their analysis comes after CNN reported the US is prepared.

Threats of nuclear weapons: Russia conducts intense operation against the West

Russia's nuclear threat in Ukraine likely a bluff

The American Institute for War Studies (ISW) has drawn attention to reports from CNN stating that Russia considered using nuclear weapons in Ukraine in 2022, and the USA began preparing for such a possibility. ISW continues to assert that the use of such weapons in Ukraine is "highly unlikely."

In its latest report on the events in the Ukraine war dated March 9, an American think tank discusses CNN's reports from Sunday. The station reported that two senior officials in President Joe Biden's administration stated that in 2022, the USA began "meticulously preparing" for such a potential move by Russia.

This occurred after Washington received intelligence suggesting that Russian officials at various levels were discussing the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons. According to these reports, the USA reached out to its allies as well as representatives of the Kremlin, and also requested China and India to influence Russia. A representative of the administration admitted that public statements from Chinese and Indian leaders were "helpful and persuasive factors."

Russia's nuclear threat in Ukraine likely a bluff

The US officials cited by CNN believed that the then statements by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu — who maintained that Ukraine would use a "dirty nuclear bomb" — could be used by Russia as a "cover" for the contemplated attack.

Russian Information Operation Against the West ISW experts, discussing CNN's reports, recall that in 2022, Russia "conducted an intensive information operation against the West regarding the potential use of nuclear weapons by Russia in Ukraine." According to ISW, the aim of this operation was to "halt Western aid to Ukraine."

The American think tank acknowledges that "Shoigu and other Kremlin representatives publicly made claims about the Ukrainian 'dirty bomb'." According to the center, this too was aimed at halting Western aid to Kyiv.

Analysts argue that the boundaries that Russia set as "red lines" (boundaries that must not be crossed) — constituting circumstances for its use of nuclear weapons — were in fact crossed by Ukraine several times during the war. According to ISW, this is an indication that many of these "red lines" are actually "information operations aimed at thwarting actions by Ukraine and the West."

According to ISW, the crossing of those "red lines" included both Ukrainian counteroffensives and the liberation of parts of the territories occupied by Russia in the east and south of the country, as well as Sweden and Finland joining NATO. "ISW continues to assess that Russia's use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine remains highly unlikely," the center concludes.

#Russian Agression#Ukraine#Russia

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