Ukraine: Expert says 'Putin's weighing up 'nuclear blackmail'
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This came after Moscow ordered nuclear deterrent forces to be on “high alert”. Putin said the escalation was in response to “unfriendly economic sanctions” and “aggressive statements” from Western countries. In a televised meeting, the Russian leader said: “Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly economic actions against our country, but leaders of major NATO countries are making aggressive statements about our country.”
He added: “So I order to move Russia’s deterrence forces to a special regime of duty.”
But reacting to the news, Britons on social media have urged Western countries to “confront Russia” over the threat of nuclear war.
One user, Gil Dice, wrote: “If we DON’T confront Russia, they’ll do whatever they want- regardless of those who suffer.”
They outlined two options, saying that either “we fight back Russia and risk Nuclear War” or “we let Putin bully anyone/everyone- killing innocence for nothing, anyway.”
Another user, nicknamed CryptoDad_DTM, said that “fear of nuclear war should not paralyze us.”
He added: “Fight back, united in righteousness.
“What happens, happens.”
Another, Kevin Rothrock, encouraged the Russian people to “take to the streets and march for peace”.
He wrote: “I know the police will beat people and the courts will imprison people, but I truly hope that Russians — millions of them are needed here — will take to the streets right now and march for peace.
“Putin is threatening nuclear war.”
A fourth user, William LeGate, agreed, urging the Russian people to “overthrow this maniacal dictator”.
He said: “Russia’s generals have to know that nuclear war would mean the end of their lives, their family, & their homeland. No one wins in nuclear war.
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“At what point do they overthrow this maniacal dictator that is Putin?”
Speaking about Putin’s decision to put the nuclear deterrents on high alert, nuclear weapons expert Pavel Podvig said it was a “very explicit nuclear threat.”
He urged world leaders to make clear that nuclear threats are “absolutely unacceptable”.
He said: “Kremlin has no good off-ramps at this point and is looking at an existential threat to the current state.
“The thing to do at this point is for everyone, literally everyone – US, NATO, NWS, NAS, NNWS, TPNW – to say forcefully and clearly that a threat of nuclear weapons is absolutely unacceptable.”
On the first day of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Putin warned that the West would face “consequences greater than any faced in history” if they intervened.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss had previously warned that any use of battlefield nuclear weapons by Russia would represent an “extremely serious escalation” of the conflict.
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