Former NATO commander says he’s not losing much sleep over Putin’s nuclear threats

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  • A former NATO commander said he is not losing “much sleep” over Putin’s nuclear threats.
  • James Stavridis said such action would “create a huge movement away from” Putin around the world.
  • Putin threatened nuclear power when he announced a partial military mobilization this week.

Retired Adm. James Stavridis, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, told MSNBC on Friday that he is not particularly concerned about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats.

“I don’t see Putin deciding to use a nuclear weapon,” Stavridis said. “Bottom line: Putin is upping the ante,” he added, “but I think the storm clouds are lifting for Vladimir Putin.”

When Putin announced plans for partial military mobilization earlier this week, taking immediate steps to begin calling up 300,000 reservists, the Russian leader threatened the use of nuclear power in the event of a “threat” to Russia’s “territorial integrity.”

“We will certainly make use of all weapons systems available to us. This is not a bluff,” Putin said.

His latest remarks were not the first time since launching his war in Ukraine that Putin has issued a warning about Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which is the largest in the world. The US has repeatedly blamed Putin for the nuclear saber rattling.

“President Putin has made blatant nuclear threats against Europe in reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime,” President Joe Biden said of his Russian counterpart during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly this week.

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” Biden said, condemning Russia for “making irresponsible nuclear threats.”

Western officials and Russian observers have repeatedly warned that Putin may decide to use a nuclear weapon if he feels backed into a corner in Ukraine, with some worrying that the likelihood of such a scenario has increased given Ukraine’s recent capture of a significant portion of the territory previously held by the Russian army as part of a counter-offensive. The United States has privately warned Russia for months that there would be serious consequences if the country uses a nuclear weapon, according to a report from the Washington Post.

But Stavridis said he is not losing “much sleep” over Putin’s nuclear rhetoric.

The former NATO commander said the Russian leader’s use of a nuclear weapon would “create a huge movement away from him – dramatically – in world opinion.”

IN and op-ed to Bloomberg published this week, Stavridis said that “the nuclear threat is a repeat of Putin’s blow from months ago.”

“It is highly unlikely that he will use even a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon given the obvious threat of starting World War III and also the enormous damage it would do to his efforts to keep Brazil, India, Nigeria, South Africa and other major non-aligned countries. in neutrality,” Stavridis wrote.

Stavridis also said Putin’s military mobilization and nuclear threats were moves that “reek of desperation,” a point many other expert observers have also argued.

Ivo Daalder, a former US ambassador to NATO, expressed similar views in comments to Insider on Wednesday.

Putin “recognizes that the ‘special military operation’ is not going well,” Daalder said, adding that “any mobilization — partial or full — seven months into a war means you’re losing, not winning.”

And referring to Putin’s nuclear threat, Daalder argued that “anyone who finds it necessary to say he’s not bluffing, most likely is.”

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