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Nuclear bombs as a last option? Not necessary. Russia could resort to tactical nuclear bombs at the early stages of a conflict, reports the British newspaper Financial Times.
Remo Hess, Brussels / ch media
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with officials in the city of Tsivilsk, Republic of Chuvash, Russia, February 22, 2024. The US government hits Russia with the greatest tra...

When will Russia be ready to use one of its 5,000-plus nuclear warheads? Until now, it was believed that this would only be the case in two scenarios: as a retaliatory attack if Russia itself were attacked with nuclear weapons. Or secondly, if the survival of the Russian state is in acute danger as a result of a conventional attack. This is how President Vladimir Putin described Russia’s nuclear doctrine last year.

But now the British newspaper Financial Times has revealed that Putin’s threshold for using tactical nuclear weapons is much lower. These nuclear bombs are smaller than long-range strategic nuclear missiles and can be launched from mobile carriers such as fighter planes, submarines or short- and medium-range surface-to-surface missiles. Nevertheless, they can cause great destruction. According to US estimates, Russia has at least 2,000 such “mini-nuclear bombs”.

Tactical nuclear weapons to stop the ground offensive

Based on classified documents from 2008 to 2014, Russia has gone through concrete training scenarios and operational principles that envision the use of tactical nuclear bombs “at the early stages of a conflict,” the FT writes.

Under this principle, Russia would resort to tactical nuclear bombs to stop a ground offensive on its territory, or once an opponent had destroyed twenty percent of its submarine-launched missile arsenal. In addition, there is apparently a whole series of less specific considerations at play: to stop the escalation of a conflict, to limit a state’s potential for aggression or simply to prevent Russian troops from losing a battle.

epa11023077 The newly built Russian nuclear submarine Krasnoyarsk during a Navy flag-raising ceremony at the Sevmash Shipyard, a subsidiary of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, in Sever...

It is the first time such scenarios have been seen and they show that “the operational hurdle to using nuclear weapons is quite low if the desired outcome cannot be achieved by conventional means,” said Alexander Gabuev, director of the Carnegie Russia. think tank in Berlin, to the FT.

In the documents, China is the enemy

The starting point for the scenarios outlined in the secret documents is an attack by China on Russia’s eastern border. They show that despite its rapprochement with China, Russia still harbors great distrust of its neighbor. According to experts, the doctrine is likely to still be relevant today, even though the documents are more than a decade old and President Putin publicly celebrates his solidarity with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

It is unclear what the simulation games aimed at China mean for the war in Ukraine. Putin has been ambivalent since the February invasion. On the one hand, he described all scenarios for the use of atomic bombs as unrealistic. On the other hand, he boasted about the Russian arsenal and said that Russia would not hesitate to use all its resources.

FILE - This photo taken from a video released by the Russian Ministry of Defense press service on February 19, 2022, shows a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile being launched from an airfield during military operations.

The motto is: Escalate to de-escalate

According to nuclear weapons expert William Alberque, the Russian military follows the motto “escalate to de-escalate” when using smaller nuclear weapons, or to put it another way, to “sober up” its opponents. “They think the best way to do this is to use a nuclear weapon, which they call ‘deep doses’, at a time when the intensity of fighting is still low,” Alberque told the FT. The conflict would then end before it had really begun.

ALABINO, RUSSIA - AUGUST 25, 2020: Iskander - Russian tactical missile system in combat position.  Excerpt from the demonstration program of the international military forum Army-2020 xkwx army, army-202 ...

Fear of the Russian nuclear threat has characterized the war in Ukraine from the start. Germany in particular hesitated for a long time about supporting Kiev, citing Russia’s escalation potential, initially with heavy weapons such as tanks and artillery. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is currently drawing a red line when it comes to the delivery of the German Taurus cruise missile.

According to nuclear expert Alberque, the China scenario cannot be transferred one-to-one to Ukraine. While limited use of nuclear weapons against a nuclear power like China could have a “sobering” effect, such use in Ukraine would likely contribute to escalation and lead to direct intervention by the US or Britain, the scientist said. (

Soource :Watson



I am Amelia James, a passionate journalist with a deep-rooted interest in current affairs. I have more than five years of experience in the media industry, working both as an author and editor for 24 Instant News. My main focus lies in international news, particularly regional conflicts and political issues around the world.

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