Putin’s nuclear bluff amid ongoing military call-up in Russia

Since the start of a full-scale war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, as well as scores of Russian officials, politicians and propaganda pundits, regularly threaten the West that their forces could employ nuclear weapons, and not only against Ukraine. Putin believes that the status of a nuclear power opens up opportunities for military impunity. Even during the Cold War period, the Soviet leadership didn’t allow itself the nuclear rhetoric that Vladimir Putin is now pursuing.

Such rhetoric likely comes from desperation over Russia’s inability to beat Ukraine conventionally. In fact, tactical nuclear weapons won’t help Moscow defend the temporarily captured territories as such threats have no deterrent effect over Ukraine.

Russian troops in Ukraine have thinned out so much that Putin had no choice but to declare «partial mobilization.» Despite the «nuclear threats» coming from the Kremlin, Putin’s mobilization move testifies to his uncertainty to nuke Ukraine. A month ago, the likelihood of a military call-up in Russia was considered lower than that of a nuclear strike.

What is the point then of sending hundreds of thousands of Russians to Ukraine for ultimate slaughter before launching a nuclear strike?!

But still, Putin’s nuclear threats must be taken seriously because just a year ago, no one could have fathomed an actual full-out war erupting in the center of Europe.

The United States is already working out options for response to Russia’s use of nuclear weapons. This may be the destruction of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, a non-nuclear massive strike on Russian troops, both on Ukrainian soil and within Russia, and so on. Such scenarios have already been communicated to Putin and should, first of all, become a deterrent against a nuclear strike.

Russia has already received through diplomatic channels a certain message, having also been publicly warned at the highest level, in particular by the United States, that any further nuclear threats on their part would be unacceptable, and that the actual use of nukes would bear catastrophic consequences for the Russian Federation.