Russia’s top military leaders discussed tactical nuclear weapons: report

Top Russian military leaders recently discussed the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the New York Times reported.

Russia last week held high-profile nuclear drills at the Kura firing range on the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.

Russia last week held high-profile nuclear drills at the Kura firing range on the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula.Photo: EPA/RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE via PAP

According to reports circulated inside the US government in October, President Vladimir Putin was not part of the discussions.

The reports have troubled the US administration because they “showed how frustrated Russian generals were about their failures on the ground, and suggests that Mr. Putin’s veiled threats to use nuclear weapons might not just be words,” the NYT wrote.

At the time when the reports got to the Pentagon, the Kremlin spread “unsubstantiated claims” that Ukraine might use a so-called “dirty bomb,” a conventional explosive device with added radioactive material.

The White House then expressed concern that Moscow was laying the “groundwork for a false flag operation,” in which the dirty bomb would serve as a pretext for deploying tactical nuclear weapons.

NYT added that US officials gave no further details about the scenarios discussed. The daily quoted John Kirby, a National Security Council representative, who declined to comment on “the particulars of this reporting.”

“We’ve been clear from the outset that Russia’s comments about the potential use of nuclear weapons are deeply concerning, and we take them seriously,” Kirby said. “We continue to monitor this as best we can, and we see no indications that Russia is making preparations for such use.”

Last week, Putin denied in a speech that Russia was readying a nuclear strike in Ukraine.

“We see no need for that,” Putin said. “There is no point in that, neither political nor military.”

(jh)

Source: The New York Times, PAP

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