“blackmail” with atomic weapons, Russia ready to fire?

blackmail with atomic weapons Russia ready to fire

NUCLEAR WAR. Vladimir Putin has warned the West against “nuclear blackmail”. Russia recalled its ability to attack or retaliate and assured that it was ready to use “all its forces” to protect itself.

[Mis à jour le 21 septembre 2022 à 12h09] Vladimir Putin renews his nuclear threats. As Russia skates and accuses counter-offensives in Ukraine, the master of the Kremlin has given a new dynamic to the conflict. In a speech broadcast on Wednesday September 21, 2022, the Head of State promised to remobilize the means at his disposal by requisitioning 300,000 men but above all the nuclear arsenal if necessary. “We will undoubtedly use all the weapons at our disposal,” Vladimir Putin said, seeming to allude to Russia’s status as the world’s second nuclear power. It is once again in a defensive tone that the President of the Russian Federation evoked a nuclear attack after assuring that NATO’s plans provide for the possible use of nuclear weapons against the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin’s speech was unequivocal: “I want to remind you that the Russian Federation is also equipped with a number of sufficiently heavy weapons. […] Those who blackmail nuclear weapons must know that this blackmail can backfire.” These new threats, coupled with Vladimir Putin’s other announcements, pave the way for a military escalation in the war in Ukraine and more broadly in the context of opposition between the Western bloc and Russia. A Russia which, according to the Head of State, is directly threatened by NATO forces, but the Kremlin has warned that “territorial integrity, [la] freedom, [la] sovereignty will be defended [de la Russie] by any means necessary.”

Can Russia start a nuclear war?

Threats of nuclear war have been a Russian refrain since the beginning of 2022. They go hand in hand with the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces launched on February 24 and have since been regularly uttered by the leaders of the Kremlin. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev and even Russian President Vladimir Putin were the first to suggest launching a nuclear war against the West. With each new threat, American and European intelligence services have reported the absence of suspicious movement on Russian military bases, suggesting that allusions to nuclear attacks are only deterrence strategies.

After seven months of war, difficulties experienced by the Russian army and the halt in its advance, Vladimir Putin once again brandishes the ultimate threat, that of nuclear weapons. Still, beyond the speeches on the ground, no movements reflect the preparation of a next attack. The West nevertheless takes these warnings seriously, especially since they come at a time of a new military escalation in the context of the war in Ukraine.

What do simulations of a Russian nuclear attack predict?

The nuclear threat has been brandished more than once since the start of the war in Ukraine. But the hypothesis of an attack took on another dimension in the spring of 2022 when, echoing Vladimir Putin’s speeches on the Russian strike force and arsenal, the media close to the Kremlin took part in the propaganda and lent themselves to simulations of a nuclear attack. On the public channel Rossiya 1, columnists assured on April 28, 2022 that it only took a few minutes for a missile to level European cities: 106 seconds to wipe Berlin off the map, 200 for Paris and 202 for London . The apocalyptic scenario is scary, but it is above all biased by pro-Russian discourse and conveys false information.

The following days, the speech of the Russian media and the simulations were discredited by the explanations of Benjamin Gravisse in the columns of Release. The political scientist specializing in Russian military issues said that the scenarios were based on the capabilities of the Satan 2 missile which is in possession of Russia but still in the test phase and unusable before the end of the year. Second problem, the simulations took into account a launch operated from the Kaliningrad enclave while this military base is not equipped to launch a nuclear missile and finally, even launched from this area, a missile would take longer to reach European capitals.

If these simulations of nuclear attacks are wrong, the risks of an assault with atomic weapons are always possible and the damage will be unprecedented. The fact remains that at the present time, apart from the capacities and the perimeters of the estimated destruction of each missile, nothing makes it possible to simulate the consequences of a nuclear attack. We simply know that within the Russian arsenal, certain nuclear warheads can reduce a territory over tens of kilometers to dust. Note that the West has missiles with an equivalent strike force.

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