Russian Talk Of Nuclear Strength Has Some Analysts Concerned
Talk Of Nuclear Weapons By Putin Unnerving
Just days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin unnervingly reminded the world that “that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations” and added, “This is a reality, not just words.” Russia, he told listeners, is “strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces.”
His words are of concern to many, including Gordon Chang of The Daily Beast, who notes that by testing cruise missiles, Putin has been violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between US and Russia.
Chang says that Putin’s frequent talk of Russia’s nuclear strength with regard to Ukraine is a dangerous sign – even if it is just talk.
“And not just in the European kitchen. If Putin manages to intimidate the West with his not-so-veiled promises to incinerate Ukraine’s defenders, other aggressors may think they too can employ his threatening tactics. For instance, both North Korea and China have recently talked about unleashing Armageddon,” he writes.
Paul Goble of The Interpreter also maintains the situation in Ukraine is far more dangerous than previously thought. He notes comments made recently by dissident Russian analyst Andrei Piontkovsky that Putin really is weighing the possibility of limited nuclear strikes — perhaps against one of the Baltic capitals, perhaps a Polish city — to prove that NATO is a hollow, meaningless entity.
“That belief, the Russian commentator says, is based on Putin’s assumption that the logic of mutually assured destruction (MAD) which prevented a major war between Russia and the West has broken down because of divisions within the West about how to respond to Russian use of a limited nuclear strike,” he argues.
Goble concedes Piontkovsky does not provide direct evidence, “but his argument is both suggestive and disturbing because if he has read Putin correctly, the world is in a far more dangerous situation than most have thought and the risks to Russia’s neighbors,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Russia continued to mock the sanctions regime imposed by the West and today Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country was “obliged” to respond to the sanctions handed down by the European Union and United States, according to the Russian news service.
“We are obliged to respond [to sanctions] when unfair conditions are created for our business circles, when the positions of our agriculture producers on our own market are undermined,” said Lavrov.
Lavrov said that “a response is needed regardless but we don’t really want ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ that’s not our approach.”
Russia Says Sanctions Will Not Lead To Cooperation
Lavrov made clear the sanctions would not result in greater cooperation, saying, ““I would not want to see us being compelled into gradually shutting the European direction of our co-operation with foreign partners as it has already been said that we are going to the Asia-Pacific region not instead of but in addition to the course aimed to deepen economic, trade, humanitarian and technological partnership with the EU.”
He added that the sanctions policy is going nowhere and that he hopes the “EU is becoming increasingly aware that this policy is a deadlock, and that common sense will prevail.”
Cease-fire talks were to begin today, as Ukraine lost more ground and Russia has proposed to hold “statehood” talks, reports Fox News.