Russian President Vladimir Putin has ramped up his rhetoric regarding the potential use of nuclear weapons and seemingly expressed his willingness to use such devastating weapons against the Western nations that are supporting the Ukrainian resistance to Russia’s invasion.
Putin’s most recent threats to nuke London and Washington D.C. came in relation to staged “referendums” in Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine that will likely soon be “annexed” as Russian territory, after which attacks on those territories could be used as justification for nuclear retaliation, the Washington Examiner reported.
It is, in a sense, an updated redux of the playbook used by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin with respect to territory captured during Word War II, in which sham votes were held to join the Soviet Union and those territories were then transformed into new Soviet republics.
Putin reiterates threat
Russian President Putin delivered a major speech last week in which he announced a “partial mobilization” and conscription of around 300,000 replacement troops as well as the referendum votes and impending annexation of the occupied Ukrainian regions of Donestk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.
He also discussed the “nuclear blackmail” of Western nations, who he blames for instigating and exacerbating the current conflict in Ukraine and of seeking to economically and territorially “destroy” Russia, and specifically directed his own threats of nuclear retaliation toward Brussels — headquarters of the European Union and NATO — D.C., and London.
“I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have,” Putin said. “In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.”
That threat was further bolstered in recent days, the Examiner noted, by a former top adviser to President Putin, Sergei Markov, who made it explicitly clear that if Putin felt compelled to use nuclear weapons, they would not be of the small tactical battlefield variety but instead would be large intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at Western capitals.
Yahoo News reported that Markov, during an interview on the BBC, blamed the current conflict and any potential future escalation on U.S. President Joe Biden as well as the former and current prime ministers of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, respectively.
He went on to suggest the possibility of nuclear strikes on D.C. and London that “could kill a lot of people” and that it would be “the result of crazy behavior” from the aforementioned Western leaders.
As for cities like Brussels, D.C., and London being targeted with nukes instead of locations in Ukraine, Markov added, “Russia has no reason to use technical nuclear weapons against Ukrainians. Ukrainians are our brothers but Ukrainians are occupied by Western countries.”
Attacks on annexed regions
The Washington Post reported that the internationally condemned and opposed referendums in the Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine are purportedly near conclusion, and it is expected that Putin will announce the annexation of those areas as Russian Federation territory in the coming days.
If and when that occurs, the Examiner noted, then any attacks by Ukrainian forces to reclaim those regions will be cited by Putin as a violation of the sovereignty of Russian territory, which he could then use as his own perceived justification for nuclear retaliation against his Western enemies.