Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a documentary broadcast across Russia on March 15 that he was prepared to use nuclear weapons if Western powers had tried to prevent Moscow from seizing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula last year.
The comments represent only the latest of many recent instances of nuclear threats from Russia.
Several of the nation’s latest military drills have included simulations of nuclear strikes; Russian state-run media recently ran a program called “Putin Can Destroy nato With a Single Phone Call,” during which it said Moscow could bomb the United States to “radioactive ash”; and, in recent months, Russian bombers—often equipped with nuclear weapons—have flown forays on the borders of nato airspace.
Reports from the European Union say that if Putin wages such an attack, the EU might impose a new round of economic sanctions on Russia. European Council President Donald Tusk says he is anxious for Europe to begin taking on a greater role in checking Russia’s expansionist ambitions. “We have to start to live without illusions,” he said over the weekend, adding that Europeans should work toward “a new and more ambitious defense and security policy” and “not only as part of nato.”
Tusk continued: “We have to use this Ukrainian crisis also as something like an education” for all of Europe about “how serious the situation can be.” Tusk said taking action against Russia would be difficult for Europe, however, given the lack of unity among EU nations. “We have 28 different foreign policies,” he said.
At present, deep fractures remain in the EU’s political unity. But Europeans, concerned by Russia’s ongoing nuclear saber-rattling and the seismic geopolitical shifts underway to their east, are responding. To understand more, read “Europe Rethinks Its Military After Ukraine Confrontation.” ▪
Full article: Putin’s Nuke Talk Worries European Leader (The Trumpet)