“If the very existence of the country is in danger.” What could start a nuclear war?

Against the backdrop of the ongoing Russian military operation in Ukraine, fueled by the Western supply of military equipment to the Ukrainian side, politicians began to talk more about the threat of nuclear war.

They began to talk especially actively on this issue after an interview with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Channel One, in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the risk of such a development increased.

“The risks are very, very important, I really don’t want these risks to be magnified artificially, and there are many who do. The danger is serious, it is real, it cannot be underestimated,” he said.

At the same time, he reminded that in January the “nuclear five” countries, including Russia, confirmed the thesis of the inadmissibility of nuclear war. “This is our principled stance. We set off from it, ”said Lavrov.

Following her, her German colleague Annalena Burbock said that because of what happened in Ukraine, the threat of nuclear war could not be completely ignored.

“No one in the world can say with absolute certainty: If we take this step, it will happen the next day. Therefore, we cannot rule out anything completely,” he said.

The head of the German Foreign Ministry also noted that countries are responsible for detecting such risks, but should not cause panic.

At the same time, Anne-Clair Legendre, the official representative of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the arguments about the existence of the threat of nuclear war have no basis. She called the purpose of the related explanations intimidation.

US defense spokesman John Kirby also expressed the view that there is no reason for the conflict in Ukraine to escalate into a nuclear war.

“No one wants this war to go beyond what already exists. Naturally, no one wants and should not want this to turn into a nuclear field. And there’s no reason for that to happen,” he said.

He called the Russian leadership’s recent statements about the potential “risks” of nuclear war “irresponsible”.

US President Joe Biden made a similar statement, urging all parties to refrain from talking about the possible use of nuclear weapons because of the situation in Ukraine.

While nuclear-related statements are becoming more frequent now, there was much more cause for concern at the end of February, three days after the start of the military special operation that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Strategic Deterrence Force (SDF). set special alarm. These forces are designed to deter aggression against the Russian Federation and its allies, including in a war using nuclear weapons.

On February 28, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that the order had been carried out. He said that the Strategic Missile Forces, Northern and Pacific Fleets and Long-Range Aviation task forces have embarked on combat duty with a reinforced squad.

Is nuclear war worth it?

The expert community disagrees on whether a nuclear conflict is actually possible. Konstantin Blokhin, one of the leading researchers of the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is confident that a nuclear conflict will not begin. He described the statements on this subject as an element of psychological pressure: to pressure Western countries from the West and the Russian Federation to stop Russia. He drew attention to the fact that Lavrov announced the reality of a nuclear war on the background of military support from the West to Ukraine, the desire of Sweden and Finland to become NATO members, and the desire of third countries to intervene in NATO. conflict in Ukraine.

“It is clear that no one will start this war, because the Western countries have first of all to lose. If this war happens, it will be the last war in human history. “Nuclear weapons are used when all means are exhausted and the enemy is not just threatening, but is already standing near Moscow,” he said.

At the same time, Pavel Zolotarev, vice-president of the US and Canadian Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as Major General, Specialist of the Strategic Missile Forces Pavel Zolotarev, remarks on the possibility of a nuclear conflict, in any case, take into account.

“If there is an argument based on nuclear deterrence or nuclear deterrence factors against the background of the military conflict rhetoric, we should be cautious about it. Unforeseen and unexpected situations may occur. In this case, a lot depends on the personal qualities of this or that leader of the state,” he told socialbites.ca.

According to that,

The fact that the parties resorted to nuclear deterrence on the basis of hostility should be alarming and cause concern.

Nuclear weapons are always used in a situation of power asymmetry, and Vladimir Vasiliev, principal investigator of the Canadian Research Institute of the US and Russian Academy of Sciences, noted that today the advantage is officially on the West side. He reminded that Russia can only count on the capabilities and military potential of its economy and partially on Belarus, while the West has the potential of the entire NATO, which is far superior to that of Russia.

“In this context, the question of the possible use of nuclear weapons in some critical situations arises,” the expert told socialbites.ca.

Under what conditions can a nuclear attack be launched?

Officially, the conditions for the use of nuclear weapons are outlined in the relevant doctrines of the United States and Russia. The American doctrine was adopted during the presidency of Donald Trump in 2018. According to this document, the United States is prepared to consider the possibility of using nuclear weapons only in exceptional circumstances to protect the vital interests of the country, its allies and partners. If containment does not produce the desired results, the United States will seek to end any conflict with the least possible casualties and on conditions most favorable to it.

At the same time, Washington for the first time announced the possibility of responding to an attack with non-nuclear weapons with a nuclear attack.

Moreover, the concept of “non-nuclear attack” even includes cyber attacks. As stated in the strategy, the United States needs to make its potential enemies fully aware of the consequences of the first use of nuclear weapons.

As for Russian doctrine, in 2020 Putin signed the document “Fundamentals of state policy of the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear deterrence.” He says that Russia may use nuclear weapons in response to the use of such weapons against itself and its allies, that is, when the fact of the attack turns out to have taken place.

Russia may also use nuclear weapons in case of aggression against itself and in cases where conventional weapons are used in situations where the existence of the state is threatened.

Pavel Zolotarev noted that in the doctrinal documents, none of the parties specified the conditions under which the state could resort to the use of nuclear weapons, they only stated general approaches. “The greater the uncertainty, the better the nuclear deterrence factor works,” he said.

The President of Russia has repeatedly stated that the Russian concept excludes a preventive nuclear attack, but, as Vladimir Vasiliev noted, if the existence of the country is in danger, for example, in Ukraine, when the impression is created that Russia has lost the situation, then the issue of preventive action will disappear by itself.

“This is a kind of theory, a conditional formulation of who will start a war first, based on statements from the mid-1970s that a nuclear war cannot be unleashed and there will be no winners. He comes from a schoolboy with a pure, naive disposition of strategic forces opposing each other and playing abstract games. The situation here is very, very different, ”said the expert.

Vasiliev presented situations in which nuclear weapons could be used on the background of the conflict in Ukraine. In particular, the expert admitted that the West could use nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine against the Russian army, since the Western countries have not yet shown an active intervention in this conflict on their own, but the probability of this is not very high.

But if that happens, the question arises about Russia’s reaction. It may then be decided to retaliate with conventional weapons against the infrastructure of NATO countries, for example Poland, Slovakia or Romania, where weapons supplied to Ukraine are supplied or controlled. In addition, Russia can use tactical nuclear weapons directly on the territory of these NATO countries. In this case, this situation will be justified,” he said.

At the same time, as Vladimir Vasiliev pointed out, there is a risk that the West will respond with the use of nuclear weapons already on Russian soil, and then Moscow will respond with the use of strategic nuclear weapons and

The main problem is not to turn the conflict from the use of tactical nuclear weapons into a strategic one.

As the expert explains, strategic weapons for Russia mean the use of nuclear weapons against the North American continent and, for example, the territory of Great Britain, that is, when strikes are carried out on the territory of key opposition countries.

An alternative possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons on the background of the conflict in Ukraine is to demonstrate their capabilities.

“So, detonate in a deserted or sparsely populated part of a NATO country. In this case, the country will only show its determination and ability to use nuclear weapons. This is perhaps the main function of using this weapon: to show that we are approaching the red line, but have not yet crossed it, ”said he.

Against the background of the situation in Ukraine, Western and Russian politicians began to discuss how likely it is that the conflict will escalate into a nuclear conflict. Many do not completely exclude such a possibility. Experts suggest that these explanations largely put psychological pressure on each other. Is it worth fearing a nuclear war and under what conditions it can begin – in the material socialbites.ca.

Source: Gazeta


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