Putin threatened last week to use nuclear tactical weapons in Ukraine as he announced additional troops for his invasion, raising questions as to whether or not he is actually contemplating the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The EU nation’s defense minister, Artis Pabriks, told Insider that Putin is not serious, but that the threat is part of his strategy to win in Ukraine.
“According to me, he is bluffing. He is bluffing because he is testing the resilience of the West; he wants the West to back down.”
Latvia, a neighbor of Russia and a former part of the Soviet Union, has frequently warned, as have Russia’s other neighbors, that Russia’s strategy is to exhaust the West, including through high energy prices, in the hopes that it will cease helping Ukraine.
A map displaying the Latvian and Russian borders.
Latvia, which has provided the second-highest level of financial assistance to Ukraine by GDP, has stated that it will not waver.
Pabriks added that the use of nuclear weapons would not help Russia prevail in Ukraine on its own, given the military’s difficulties.
“Russians are not ignorant. They are aware that employing nuclear weapons on Ukraine will not solve their problems.”
Pabriks stated that he ultimately does not believe Putin would benefit from this policy, as the use of nuclear weapons would not convince other nations to quit supporting Ukraine.
I don’t believe he would use nuclear weapons since they wouldn’t help him achieve his objective.
Monday, September 19, 2022: A woman collects wood for warmth from a burned school where Russian forces were based in the recently retaken district of Izium, Ukraine.
AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka
The weaponry, he claimed, “can only convince other nations to increase their support for Ukraine.”
He stated that he feels that is the only appropriate answer for countries: “There is no other way to prevent a maniac from using nuclear weapons against a peaceful neighboring country in the twenty-first century. How can we put up with this?”
Putin’s entire plan, including the mobilization of reserve forces and the holding of sham “referendums” in occupied Ukraine, according to Pabriks, is intended to frighten the West away.
“The purpose of all of this is to demonstrate to the West that it must withdraw its support for Ukraine,” says the author.
Will Putin in fact employ nuclear weapons?
Putin expressly stated in his announcement, “This is not a bluff.” However, perspectives differ as to what he will actually do.
Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Adviser, stated that the United States must take the danger seriously because it involves “the probable deployment of nuclear weapons for the first time since World War II.”
He stated that the United States is publicly and privately warning Russia against their use and that if they are employed, Russia will face “catastrophic repercussions.”
On September 21, 2022, while speaking from Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin announces additional troops for Ukraine and issues a nuclear threat.
Through AP, the Russian Presidential Press Service
Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the use of nuclear weapons by Russia “may be a reality.”
Earlier in the conflict, some experts expressed skepticism that Russia would deploy its nuclear deterrent, despite its threats to do so.
Earlier in the year, Putin made veiled threats to use nuclear weapons.
And one of his closest supporters stated in April that if Sweden and Finland joined NATO, Russia could shift nuclear weapons closer to the Baltic states, including Latvia.
Since then, they have made public requests to do so, but Russia has not retaliated.