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Would Putin Start a Nuclear War if NATO Intervened in Ukraine?

Putin
Soldiers fire a 25mm tracer round from an M2A3 fighting vehicle during an integrated night live-fire exercise at Camp Adazi, Latvia, Nov. 25, 2021.

On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered generals to place the nation’s nuclear weapons on “high alert.” It could be argued that Putin effectively signaled to the world that Russia was willing to utilize one or more of his 5,977 nuclear warheads if NATO forces become directly involved with the conflict in Ukraine.

Nuclear arms expert and researcher at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament research told the press that Putin’s order doesn’t necessarily mean that he is preparing for an imminent strike. Instead, it means that Russia is preparing to respond.

“We don’t know all the details, how exactly it works, but you could use the analogy that in peacetime, the command control system is designed to be incapable of transmitting the order,” Podvig said in an interview with Euronews. “So if you press the button, then nothing will happen because the button is not connected to anything.” This could explain why Putin used the words “high alert.”

No NATO Troops, No Nuclear War?

President Joe Biden has refused to provide military support to Ukraine so far, sending troops to neighboring Baltic states instead to provide indirect support.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also rejected pleas from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a telephone call to provide arms to Ukraine. Senior U.S. officials reportedly told Israel that it would look “favorably” on Russia supplying weapons to Ukraine, although Israel chose only to condemn Russia at the United Nations and take no further steps.

Israeli officials also claimed that Ukraine has increased the frequency of its requests for military equipment and intelligence over the last year – but despite being an ally, has not received any support.

Israel and the West’s refusal to get directly involved in this war prompted Zelenskyy to say last week to reject calls for him to evacuate.

“I need ammunition, not a ride,” he said at the outbreak of the invasion – a slogan that turned Zelenskyy into a household name and a hero in the eyes of many. The slogan is even being sold on tee-shirts.

With more than one million Ukrainians have fled the country so far, and potentially thousands killed by invading Russian forces, Western nations continue to provide arms but no send their own forces into the fray – suggesting that U.S. President Joe Biden and European leaders know very well that NATO involvement in the conflict could result in a global war.

Can the United States Defend Itself Against Russian Warheads?

Putin could technically cause the total destruction of the United States with his nation’s nuclear warheads. The United States relies more on nuclear deterrence to defend itself against the Russian nuclear threat than it does through a sophisticated missile defense system. While there are 44 homeland interceptors in the United States, they would not be sufficient to protect against hundreds of nuclear missiles being directed at the United States.

As the Heritage Foundation also points out, Russia’s nuclear weapons are also critical to the country’s desire to be treated as a world power. Using those weapons would guarantee either a third World War or the end of Russia as a global power.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. yellowstoneuk

    March 5, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    Putin by his actions, I suggest makes the case for pursuing a much improved interceptor scheme. The mutual terror defence, will not work if aggressor is not employing normal logic.

  2. samir sardana

    March 6, 2022 at 8:46 am

    Some think that Putin has made an INT failure !

    There is NO INT failure !

    Putin has made a 3 pronged attack – and each is a hedge !

    The shortest route to Kiev was from Belarus – but that would drag Belarus, into the war ! If Bela is sanctioned – then the troops will pour in,from there !

    A 1 single sided attack would have allowed UKR from South and North, to attack and also choke the Supply lines from the South And East,As of now,UKR troops are bogged down in South,East and North – WHICH IS WHAT PUTIN WANTED !

    He is quarantining the UKR army in 4 zones – and then choking them of arms,food,fuel,drugs and is pounding them !

    Now,UKR has 3 logistics supply chains of Russia to break – and even if they succeed in 1 – the other two will move ahead !

    Also,the key for Putin is to take the UKR airports.Once that is done,the logistics supply chain and time – shrinks and has a new variable !Troops and fuel can be airlifted to Kiev and other locations in less than 40 minutes from Russian airfields That is Y intense battles are on at all key airports.

    Once UKR knows that Kiev and Airports will fall,then the UKR ARMY WILL HAVE TO BLOW UP THE AIRPORTS AND ALL FUEL DUMPS.That will be end of the UKR army and the start of urban war !

    As of today,there is ENOUGH FUEL and FOOD in UKRAINE AND PUTIN’S ARMY CAN JUST STOCK UP ON THE SAME – AND THERE IS NO NEED FOR THESE – THEY ONLY NEED THE MILITARY ORDINANCE SUPPLY CHAIN ! EVEN THERE,THE RUSSIAN TROOPS ARE NOT TOO FAR FROM THE RUSSIAN BORDER !

    PUTIN IS CRUISING AHEAD ! IF HE WANTED,HE COULD HAVE SHUT DOWN THE POWER AND GAS GRID AND WATER SUPPLIES AND THE WEB – BUT HE DID NOT !

    Y ?PUTIN WANTS TO RUN UKRAINE !

    IF HE FOLLOWED THE US PATH IN IRAQ – HE WOULD HAVE TAKEN OVER UKRAINE,BY NOW !

    Putin is JUST regrouping his logistics chain !

    Half of his troops are still not in UKR – and that was a wise option – as the supply chain cannot cater to the number of troops,which are already in UKR.

    Soon he will move in from Belarus. Also, the missiles he is using are NOT accurate – and that is part of his plan – to start an exodus – which has also succeeded.

    Once the military aid convoys ENTER UKR LAND – Putin Jets and Missiles will take them out – and thus take the war to the Western Border- and thus seal the border – so that those who left – will NOT return.

    Then the urban war – street by street will begin- and then he will need the occupation army – which is still at the border.

    If Putin splits UKR and the Western Part (west of Kiev is a DMZ), he will be happy -with the South and East in his pocket.

    UKR has to prepare for a long and bloody war,and has to keep the aid logistics working !

    SINCE THE SANCTIONS ARE ON- THERE IS NO BENEFIT TO PUTIN TO EXIT FAST – AS THE SANCTIONS WILL STAY – EVEN AFTER HE EXITS – UKR !dindooohindoo

  3. Alex

    March 6, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    An attempt to disrupt Russia’s military operation to denazify and demilitarize Ukraine will lead to a third world war. World War III is the creation of the Canada-Mexico Strait. Therefore, no. NATO will not support Ukraine. And there will be no nuclear war.

  4. Thomas andrews

    March 10, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    A nuclear war is very possible, although most nuclear powers would avoid nuclear war at all costs unless they were attacked first, even knowing it could mean the end of the world as we know it. Nuclear war becomes a probability when an unstable leader with nuclear weapons is losing and decides he’s not going down alone. Hitler used everything he had to control the world, when he realized it wasn’t enough he shot himself.if he had been in possession of a nuclear bomb he would have used it to hopefully achieve his goal. Putin has the mindset of Hitler, control by any means. It’s not Russians that invaded Ukraine, it’s Putin and his Generals that decided to do this and sadly the troops he would send to die for his own cause Putin is the president of the Government that controls a large piece of land with enough weapons to destroy most of the planet. The people that live on that land are controlled by a Government that really doesn’t give a shit about them. Putin and his close circle rule by the threat of force against all that would even think about complaining about the government. You now have to wonder how such people would react to the thought that their control was coming to an end.

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