The possibility of Vladimir Putin launching a nuclear strike in 2023 is a viable threat, according to a top British general.
With the war between Russia and Ukraine soon reaching a span of six months, Putin may feel nuclear warfare is needed for a Russian victory, according to Sir Richard Barrons, a former commander in the British Army.
Sir Richard called the possibility of Putin resorting to nuclear weapons "likely" if the Russian leader believes his nation is being beaten by the Ukraine.
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Retiring in 2016 after 39 years of service, Sir Richard said: "It would be the first use of nuclear weapons for 77 years, breaking an enormous taboo, but this is not inconceivable to Russians if the ends justify it in their eyes.
“A broader Ukrainian offensive and mobilisation expected as soon as next spring could lead to battlefield successes and the liberation of land seized by Russia.
“This might create other risks. If Putin senses defeat, will he be tempted to use tactical nuclear weapons to change reality on the battlefield?”
While Putin believed the war would be over in the first few days of the initial invasion in February, it has since dragged on almost six months on with Sir Richard warning the West that Putin could potentially “employ tactical nuclear weapons” if he believes progress is stagnated in Russia's invasion over Ukraine.
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Putin turns 70 in September and is reportedly taking mood-altering steroids for conditions ranging from cancer to Parkinson’s disease.
According to Russian doctrine, smaller weapons are used on the battlefield as Sir Richard insisted that Russia would not use city-destroying bombs as powerful such as the ones that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
However, even the smaller weapons used can cause atrocities and that's not even considering the major geopolitical issues that could arise from Russia's usage of weapons of mass destruction for the first time in 77 years, Sir Richard added.
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