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Nuclear Escalation Would Be Disastrous for Russia

Lawrence J. Korb and Steve Cimbala argue why Russia would not be able to contain a nuclear war on Ukrainian territory.

Ukraine’s unexpectedly stout resistance to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression has contradicted many expert predictions and popular assumptions about Russian military performance and prowess. Faced with a protracted war of attrition instead of a rapid coup de main against the Ukrainian government, Putin has resorted to a controversial call-up of military reserves in order to replace lost manpower and blunt the momentum of Ukrainian counteroffensives supported by NATO weapons and intelligence.

Unfortunately, Putin has not stopped there. He has also issued repeated threats of nuclear first use against Ukrainian forces, especially those fighting in four eastern and southern regions, and, presumably, any conducting strikes into Russian state territory. Putin’s references to the possibility of nuclear use have been seconded by other officials in the Russian government, including former President Dmitri Medvedev, and widely broadcasted on Russian state media.

The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest. Click here to view the full article.

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Authors

Lawrence J. Korb

Senior Fellow

Steve Cimbala

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