Putin threatens use of nukes if weapons continue to be delivered to Ukraine

World War III looms larger as a real possibility today, following a threat delivered by one of Vladimir Putin's closest allies.  Following U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson dismissing the threat of nuclear weapons being used, former deputy prime minister and head of Putin's presidential administration, Vyacheslav Volodin, said (via GB News):

"If Washington and NATO countries supply weapons that will be used to strike civilian cities and attempt to seize our territories, as they threaten, this will lead to retaliatory measures using more powerful weapons,"

In a Telegram message he continued: "Arguments that the nuclear powers have not previously used weapons of mass destruction in local conflicts are untenable. Because these states did not face a situation where there was a threat to the security of their citizens and the territorial integrity of the country."

He added "Deliveries of offensive weapons to the Kyiv regime will lead to a global catastrophe".

I don't know about you, but I am not willing to dismiss this as mere rhetoric, something that we safely can ignore.  After all, many U.S. and NATO officials have openly stated that they want regime change in Russia as the goal of the war that is devastating Ukraine.  For Putin, this result almost certainly would result in death, or at best trial for war crimes should he survive and be captured.  With such a fate in prospect, why wouldn't Putin be willing to use nuclear weapons?

Yes, Russia did invade Ukraine and has grabbed territory and incorporated it into Russia, and yes, we tend to frown on that (although it is the way that the world has worked forever, including the assembling of the territory that the United States consists of today).  But the closer you look at the events that led to the current situation, the cloudier the calculus of the rights and wrongs becomes.  The U.S. pretty openly engineered the destruction of a democratically elected pro-Russia government in Kyiv in the 2014 "Maidan Revolution" and provoked Russia with the threat to bring Ukraine into NATO.

I don't propose to relitigate the origins of this crisis, only to point out that nuclear Armageddon may not be a price worth paying.

How about supporting a negotiated settlement between Ukraine and Russia?  

Photo credit: PXhere, public domain.

Anyone else remember the lefties and their 1980s bumper stickers: "one nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day"?

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