As top intelligence officials calm fears of an impending nuclear strike ordered by Vladimir Putin, one former defense official fears that the US may underestimate the Russian president’s readiness to launch an att*ck on Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Putin announced that Russia would expand its hostilities in response to a successful counteroffensive mission from Ukraine. He warned that he would be ready to use “various weapons of destruction” to “protect Russia and our people.”

This poorly veiled threat prompted both US President Joe Biden and the National Security Council to respond by warning that if Russia uses nuclear weapons, there will be “harsh reactions.” However, officials also assured that “there is no indication” that events will escalate to this level in the near future.

But one former US official believes these statements may be a bit too naive about Putin. Retired Lieutenant General Robert Ashley said: Newsweek that while he did not want to speculate on the possibility of a nuclear att*ck, “my concern is that we underestimate how far Putin can go in escalating the conflict.”

“While I still judge the use of nuclear weapons to be very low, it is not zero, as many have written,” Ashley wrote in an email.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives a speech at the 1160th anniversary of Russia’s statehood in Veliky Novgorod on September 21, 2022. “I am concerned that we may underestimate how far Putin can go in escalating the conflict,” Ashley said.
Ilja Pitalew / Sputnik

Other experts said earlier Newsweek that since nuclear monitoring has become the norm since the Cold War, the US should be well prepared to know when Putin is about to strike.

John Erath, senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said that although the Russian president was probably trying to use the threat to persuade other countries to reconsider their support for Ukraine, “[Putin] he doesn’t bluff, which is part of the danger. “

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has promised that Ukraine’s allies will not engage in “the same kind of reckless and dangerous nuclear rhetoric” as Putin. But in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Biden warned that “the United States is ready to take critical arms control measures.”

“A nuclear war cannot be won and can never be fought,” he said.

At the same time, while the US may underestimate Putin, the Russian leader may also recalculate NATO’s response to the possible use of nuclear weapons.

“I cannot imagine Putin wanting to bring the US / NATO directly into a conflict, and the use of nuclear weapons would probably make it a clear possibility,” Ashley said. “But he may still misread how far NATO / US will go.”

#defense #official #concerned #underestimates #Putin

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