Former NATO commander says he’s not losing ‘much sleep’ over Putin’s nuclear threats as Russian leader raises the bar in Ukraine


  • A former NATO commander said he is not losing “much sleep” over Putin’s nuclear threats.
  • James Stavridis said using such an action would “create a huge move away from” Putin around the world.
  • Putin threatened nuclear weapons when he announced a partial military mobilization this week.

Retired Admiral James Stavridis, a former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, told MSNBC on Friday that he is not really concerned about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats.

“I don’t see Putin deciding to use a nuclear weapon,” Stavridis said. “In short, Putin is raising the stakes,” he added, “but I think the storm clouds are rising for Vladimir Putin.”

When Putin announced plans for partial military mobilization earlier this week and immediately took steps to recall 300,000 reservists, the Russian leader threatened the use of nuclear weapons in the event of a “threat” to Russia’s “territorial integrity”.

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“We will certainly use all the weapon systems at our disposal. This is not a bluff,” Putin said.

His recent comments weren’t the first time since launching his war in Ukraine that Putin has issued a warning regarding Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which is the largest in the world. The US has repeatedly accused Putin of rattling nuclear sabers.

“President Putin has openly expressed nuclear threats against Europe in a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime,” President Joe Biden said of his Russian counterpart during a speech at the UN General Assembly this week.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought,” Biden said, decrying Russia for “irresponsible nuclear threats”.

Western officials and Russian observers have repeatedly warned that Putin could decide to use a nuclear weapon if he feels cornered in Ukraine, with some worrying that the likelihood of such a scenario has increased given the recent capture of a significant part of the territory by Ukraine. held by the Russian army as part of a counter-offensive. The US has personally warned Russia for months that there would be dire consequences if it were to use a nuclear weapon, according to a report by the Washington Post.

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But Stavridis said he isn’t losing “a lot of sleep” over Putin’s nuclear rhetoric.

The former NATO commander said the Russian leader’s use of a nuclear weapon “would cause a huge movement of him — dramatically — in world opinion.”

In an op-ed for Bloomberg published this week, Stavridis said the “nuclear threat is a repeat of Putin’s outburst months ago.”

He is highly unlikely to use even a low-efficiency tactical nuclear weapon, given the obvious threat of the outbreak of World War III and also the massive damage it would cause in his efforts to destroy Brazil, India, Nigeria, South -Maintain Africa and other major non-aligned countries.” in neutrality,” wrote Stavridis.

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Stavridis also said Putin’s military mobilization and nuclear threats were movements that “smelle of despair,” a point many other expert observers have argued.

Ivo Daalder, a former US ambassador to NATO, expressed similar views in comments to Insider on Wednesday.

Putin “recognizes that the ‘special military operation’ is not going well,” Daalder said, adding that “any mobilization — partial or full — seven months into a war means losing, not winning.”

And regarding Putin’s nuclear threat, Daalder claimed that “anyone who finds it necessary to say he’s not bluffing most likely is.”


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