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Did Putin Just Threaten to Attack NATO in a ‘Lightning Speed’ Strike?

War in Ukraine
Image of Russian artillery firing.

Putin’s Latest Threat: Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to make a direct threat to NATO countries on Wednesday, warning that he would order “lightning speed” strikes against any country that he believes “interferes” with his so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine.

“If anyone ventures to intervene from the outside and [pose] unacceptable threats of a strategic nature to Russia, they should know that our counter-retaliatory strikes will take place with lightning speed,” he said.

If Putin Attacks: Would This Mean World War Three?

Any strike against a NATO territory means that all other alliance members will take military action against the country that initiated the strike. Should Russia take direct military action against a NATO country supplying weapons to Ukraine, it would constitute an act of war and likely be the beginning of World War Three.

“Do we understand correctly that for the sake of disrupting the logistics of military supplies, Russia can strike military targets on the territory of those NATO countries that supply arms to the Kyiv regime?” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Putin Russia

President of Russia Vladimir Putin Meeting with members of the Government (via videoconference).

Zakharova justified the supposed threats against NATO military facilities, stating that the continual supply of weapons and ammunition from the West to Ukraine “directly leads to deaths and bloodshed on Ukrainian territory.”

Russia Already At War with NATO

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned this week that Russia believes NATO countries are already engaged in a war against Russia, potentially setting the stage and creating a pretext for Russia to attack.

“The danger is serious, real,” he said of nuclear conflict with the West. “And we must not underestimate it.”

“NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy. War means war,” Lavrov also said.

While talk of military conflict with the West has increased in recent weeks, an attack against the West would likely be among Russia’s last resort options. Having already failed to take control of the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv, Russian troops have since refocused their energy on capturing the Donbas region of Ukraine. However, even in the besieged city of Mariupol, Russian troops are still struggling to fight off Ukrainian troops.

Soviet Union Putin

Image of Russia President Putin. Image Credit: Russian Government.

For Putin to launch an effective attack against the West, it would undoubtedly require the military support from China it requested in March – and didn’t receive any as far as reports go.

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.

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He 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.

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