The desperation that the world has witnessed in the heart of the Russian government of late has been equal parts unnerving and surprising, and both en masse.
There have been no shortage of horrifying threats emanating from the Kremlin on account of their failing and unwinnable war in Ukraine. As Moscow’s military continues to fall back into retreat, these warnings from Putin and his cronies crescendo in near-direct proportion.
So, with defeat nearly inevitable, some close to the Russian leader suggesting an unholy ultimatum: Let us win in Ukraine or we resort to nuclear warfare.
“The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war,” former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as deputy chairman of Putin’s powerful security council, said in a post on Telegram.
“Nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends,” said Medvedev, who served as president from 2008 to 2012.
The Kremlin wasn’t exactly downplaying the suggestion either, referring instead to their military doctrine’s allowance of preemptive nuclear strikes.
Asked if Medvedev’s remarks signified that Russia was escalating the crisis to a new level, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “No, it absolutely does not mean that.”Advertisement - story continues below
He said Medvedev’s remarks were in full accordance with Russia’s nuclear doctrine which allows for a nuclear strike after “aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is threatened”.
A nuclear escalation by Russia would undoubtedly trigger a vast and unwavering international response, but the uncanny nihilism being demonstrated by Vladimir Putin leaves little hope that this is of concern to him.