The continuing failures of Vladimir Putin and his troops in Ukraine raise alerts for new steps that could be taken by the Kremlin to escalate the conflict, with the possibility of use of nuclear weapons on the battlefront or on civilian populations, so kyiv’s allies are preparing their response to these scenarios.
Since Sunday, Moscow has accused Ukraine of wanting to launch a radioactive bomb in his own country and then point to Russia. For its part, kyiv and NATO also accuse the Kremlin of having the same plans to give the green light to an escalation. “We know that the Russians often accuse others of what they themselves intend to do. We saw it in Syria, we saw it at the beginning of this war in Ukraine”, emphasized Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the alliance.
A radiological bomb or “dirty bomb” is made up of conventional explosives surrounded by radioactive materials that spread after detonation.
the retired admiral James Stavridisformer NATO Supreme Commander, wrote in the magazine Time a column in which he defined the steps to be followed in the event that Russia launches such a weapon, or a tactical nuclear weapon, with a limited range.
“It is a real possibility,” he warned, highlighting the meetings held by the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, with allied and rival leaders in recent days, in which he presented his arguments. “This smells like the Kremlin is preparing a classic false flag operation meaning that they would detonate such a weapon and then point an accusing finger at the Ukrainians,” he said.
Therefore, he asserted that the West should in that case respond “forcefully and immediately” with the following steps:
1- Publicize and condemn the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, the first use since World War II
2- Provide irrefutable evidence that the radiation is the result of Russian activity
3- Demand the expulsion of Russia from UN Security Councilgoing through the General Assembly to overcome the alleged Russian veto.
4- Pressure China, India and other major nations considered “swing voters” to condemn Putin and cut off trade with Russia.
5- Confiscate all Russian financial assets in Western hands, estimated at 300,000 million dollars, to be used expressly for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
6- Immediately hand over fighter planes to the Ukrainians MIG-29 from Soviet times, which are currently in Poland, as their pilots are trained to handle them. The US would compensate Warsaw by delivering F-16 fighters
7- Consider the possibility of delivering ships F-16 Ukraine, as early models are relatively easy to fly and highly lethal in both air-to-air and air-to-ground attack scenarios. The United States could train Ukrainian pilots at the Ramstein air base in Germany.
8- Increase the supply of advanced systems of defensive missiles ground-to-air, with the old Hawk systems, but also the modern Patriot and Iron Dome
9- Consider the possibility of establishing a no fly zone of NATO in support of the Ukrainian air forces
10- Consider a response in the world of cyberneticsin particular by pursuing Russian military capabilities
eleven- Directly and openly targeting the Russian Black Sea fleet and provide Ukraine with the intelligence and long-range cruise missiles to sink a significant number of high-value warships
Stavridis added that the measures must be communicated in advance to Putin “so that he understands that the reaction to his use of radioactive weapons would be swift and formidable.”
But he also ruled out the deployment of NATO’s nuclear capability as one of the possible responses. “A new nuclear escalation must be avoided at all costs,” he said.
Since the beginning of the war, Volodimir Zelesnky demanded that NATO declare a no-fly zone, but the alliance refused because this would imply a direct confrontation with Russian ships. The use of atomic weapons could change the red line.
The objective of these measures, the retired admiral added, is for the Russian president to understand that “it will be even worse – exponentially – if he reaches for the lever to use a radioactive nuclear device of any kind.”
On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden warned that “Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake if it used a tactical nuclear weapon.”
(With information from AFP)