The Ukraine War Soon a Nuclear War? One of President Vladimir Putin‘s closest allies defiantly sent a message to NATO that should Russia face defeat on the battlefield – which could threaten the nation’s very existence – it might have to use its nuclear weapons.
In a Telegram post on Thursday, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said, “The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war can provoke the beginning of a nuclear war,” and added, “nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends.”
His comments came as NATO and other Western defense leaders were set to meet at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to talk about continued support for Ukraine. The U.S. is expected to announce another $3 billion defensive aid package for Ukraine.
This is not the first time the Russian official has suggested that a “nuclear option” was on the table for Russia. Last month, the former Russian president had suggested that Russia’s nuclear arsenal – the largest in the world – was among the only factors preventing the West from openly engaging in war.
“Is the West ready to unleash a fully-fledged war against us, including a nuclear war, at the hands of Kyiv?” Medvedev suggested in a 4,500-word article for the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper.
Can Russia Sustain Its Losses in Ukraine?
The comments from the former Russian leader also followed news that the Kremlin may have already lost upwards of 1,000 soldiers just since the start of the New Year. According to figures from the Armed Forces of Ukraine, since the start of the invasion last February 24, Russia has seen 119,300 soldiers killed as of Friday.
An additional 357,900 have been wounded, while around 1,000 have been taken prisoner.
At this point, if the numbers are even close to true, Russia’s losses in Ukraine are now greater than the total number of U.S. soldiers killed in the First World War. What is also noteworthy is that of the total 116,516 Americans who died in the war, 53,402 were killed in combat while 63,114 died from non-combat causes – largely influenza while deployed to Europe.
Russia’s casualties had already surpassed those recorded by the United States military in the Vietnam War (58,220) and Korean War (36,516) combined, Newsweek reported. That too is notable in that the U.S. involvement in those conflicts exceeded a decade. Moreover, the figures are now approaching ten times the “official” Soviet Army losses in its decade-long war in Afghanistan.
Perhaps Medvedev has reason to be concerned.
Imperial Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) resulted in some 50,000 killed, and sparked the Revolution of 1905. Its losses on the battlefield during the First World War then brought down the government of Tsar Nicholas II in 1917, while the war in Afghanistan was among the factors that resulted in the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War.
Now, this latest Russian adventure resembles those previous conflicts – and could have similar outcomes for the government in Moscow.
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Author Experience and Expertise: A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.