Russian military commanders discuss using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, according to NYT | World | DW

Senior Russian military officials recently discussed Moscow’s use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, raising concerns in Washington and allied capitals, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

As the New York newspaper explained, citing senior US officials as sources, Russian President Vladimir Putin was not part of the talks, which took place as Russia’s nuclear rhetoric intensified and Russian military forces suffered battlefield setbacks.

The fact that senior Russian military commanders have addressed the issue, the newspaper notes, has upset the administration of US President Joe Biden, as it confirmed how frustrated Russian generals are with their tactical mistakes and suggested that Putin’s veiled threats to use nuclear weapons could materialize.

However, US officials said they had seen no evidence that the Russians were deploying nuclear weapons or taking other tactical steps to prepare for an attack. They also did not describe the scenarios military leaders were considering for the hypothetical use of nuclear weapons.

“Potential Despair”

The newspaper, however, recalled that William J. Burns, director of the CIA, had previously said that Putin’s “potential desperation” to win in Ukraine and failures in the war could lead Russia to use these weapons.

On the other hand, John Kirby, one of the spokesmen for the National Security Council of the White House, refused to comment on “the details of this report”, writes The New York Times.

“We’ve made it clear from the beginning that Russia’s comments about the potential use of nuclear weapons are of great concern and that we take them seriously,” Kirby said, adding that the U.S. government continues to “monitor the matter as best we can and we see no indication that Russia is preparing for such use.”

The Pentagon estimates that Russia has an arsenal of up to 2,000 tactical nuclear weapons, which are designed for battlefield use against conventional forces. Tactical nuclear weapons have never been used in combat, but could be used in many ways, including missiles or artillery shells.

ct (efe, now)

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