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Will Vladimir Putin pull the trigger? Nuclear analysts speak
Written by SOT.COM.AL 4 Tetor 2022
Will Russian President Vladimir Putin pull the trigger? There is no more pressing and difficult question for Kremlin watchers trying to figure out whether the Russian leader's threats are just a bluff.
For now, analysts suggest that the risk of President Putin deploying the world's largest nuclear arsenal appears to be low. The CIA says it has seen no signs of an imminent nuclear attack by Russia.
However, his vows to use "all available means" to defend Russia while attacking Ukraine are being taken very seriously. And the claim he made Friday that the United States "set the precedent" by dropping nuclear bombs during World War II further heightened nuclear risk.
The White House has warned of "catastrophic consequences for Russia" if President Putin decides to use the nuclear option.
But it is not known if this will stop President Putin. Nervous Kremlin watchers admit they cannot be sure what he has in mind, or even whether he is rational and well-informed.
The former KGB agent has demonstrated a willingness to undertake risky actions and tactics. It is difficult even for Western intelligence agencies, despite the satellites at their disposal, to conclude whether President Putin is bluffing or really intends to break the nuclear taboo.
"The American intelligence community has not seen any practical steps, that it is approaching the moment of deployment, or that there is an imminent danger, of the use of nuclear weapons," CIA Director William Burns said in an interview. for the CBS channel.
"What we need to do is take it very seriously and look for signs of real preparations," Mr Burns said.
What causes confusion for Kremlin watchers is that it is not clear how the use of nuclear force can help to recover Russia's military losses in Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces are not using tanks concentrated in large formations to retake territory, and fighting sometimes takes place over small territories, such as villages. So what target could Russian nuclear forces target to have a winning effect?
"Nuclear weapons are not a magic wand," says Andrey Baklitskiy, with the UN Institute for Disarmament Studies, which specializes in nuclear risks. "They're not something you just throw in to solve all the problems you have."
Analysts hope the taboo on the use of nuclear weapons will serve as a deterrent. The horrific scale of human suffering in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, after the United States destroyed these cities with nuclear bombs on August 6 and August 9, 1945, is a powerful argument against the repeated use of such weapons. 210,000 people were killed in those attacks.
"It's still taboo in Russia to cross that threshold," says Dara Massicot, a policy researcher at the Rand Corporation, also a former analyst of Russia's military capabilities at the US Department of Defense.
"It is one of the most difficult decisions in human history," says Mr. Baklitskiy.
The backlash could turn President Putin into a global outcast.
"Breaking the nuclear taboo would, at a minimum, impose complete diplomatic and economic isolation on Russia," says Sidharth Kaushal, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute in London, which specializes in security and defense.
The long-range nuclear weapons that Russia would use in the event of a direct conflict with the United States are in combat readiness. But its stockpiles of shorter-range nuclear warheads, so-called tactical weapons, that President Putin could use in Ukraine are not on standby.
"All the warheads are in stockpiles," says Pavel Podvig, a nuclear weapons researcher at a UN organization in Geneva.
"They have to be taken out of the bunkers, they have to be loaded onto trucks and then they have to be mounted on rockets or other launch systems," he says.
Russia has not published a complete inventory of its nuclear weapons and their capabilities. President Putin could order a smaller weapon to be secretly readied and prepared for surprise use.
Also, the visible removal of weapons from warehouses would be another tactic that President Putin could use to increase the pressure, without putting these weapons into use. He would expect American satellites to spot the activity and perhaps hope that by showing his "nuclear teeth" he could scare the Western powers into reducing their support for Ukraine.
“Kjo është ajo çfarë do të prisnin rusët, se përshkallëzimi i ofron palës tjetër një kërcënim, por edhe një mundësi për të negociuar me Rusinë”, thotë zoti Kaushal.
Ai shton se: “Ekziston një lloj gjuhe në sinjalizimin bërthamor dhe të rrezikshmërisë, dhe një logjikë; pra është shumë më tepër se thjesht një i çmendur, që një ditë vendos të bëjë këtë, apo atë veprim”.
Analistët gjithashtu presin që të ketë fillimisht përshkallëzime të tjera, përfshirë rritje të sulmeve ruse në Ukrainë, pa përdorur armë bërthamore.
“Nuk mendoj se do të ketë një rrufe në qiell të hapur”, tha Nikolai Sokov, i cili mori pjesë në negociatat për kontrollin e armëve kur punonte për Ministrinë e Jashtme të Rusisë dhe që tashmë punon në Qendrën për Çarmatimin dhe Mospërhapjen në Vjenë.
Analistët gjithashtu kanë vështirësi në identifikimin e objektivave në fushëbetejë që do kishin vlerë të mjaftueshme për çmimin e lartë, që do të paguante Presidenti Putin. Nëse një goditje bërthamore nuk do të ndalte avancimin ukrainas, a do të godiste ai sërish?
Zoti Podvig thotë se në këtë luftë nuk ka përqëndrim të madh të forcave që mund të përbënin objektiv për një sulm bërthamor.
Sulmi bërthamor ndaj qyteteve, me shpresën se Ukraina do të tronditej mjaftueshëm, që të dorëzohej, do të ishte një alternativë e tmerrshme.
“Vendimi për të vrarë dhjetëra dhe qindra mijëra njerëz me gjakftohtësi, do të ishte një vendim i vështirë”, thotë ai. “Ashtu siç duhet të jetë”.
Presidenti Putin mund të jetë duke shpresuar se thjesht kërcënimet mund ngadalësojnë furnizimin me armë nga Perëndimi për Ukrainën, dhe do t’i jepnin më shumë kohë për të stërvitur 300 mijë forcat shtesë, që po mobilizon, duke shkaktuar protesta dhe një eksod të meshkujve të aftë për luftë.
Por, nëse Ukraina vazhdon të rimarrë territoret e pushtuara dhe Presidenti rus Putin konstaton se nuk mundet të mbahen më territoret e pushtuara, analistët i frikësohen rrezikut në rritje, se ai mund të vendosë se nuk ka më opsione jo-bërthamore.
“Putini po rrëzon vërtet shumë ura pas tij tashmë, me mobilizimin dhe me aneksimin e territoreve të reja”, thotë zonja Massicot.
"This suggests to us that he is committed to a complete victory on his own terms," ??she adds. "I am very worried about where this will lead us, including some kind of nuclear decision"./ VOA