By Wyn Rees and Azriel Bermant, published in Foreign Policy, 7 March 2002
Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats plunge the West into a debate it’s not ready for.
At the beginning of the Ukraine invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his country’s nuclear forces to be placed on high alert and ominously threatened Russia’s adversaries with “consequences you have never seen in history.” By doing so, he added a frightening nuclear dimension to his unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine that has destabilized Europe’s post-1945 security system. Western political and security officials have been left reeling, both from the attack on a neighboring country and the heightened Russian nuclear alert. Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove has pointed out that that although Putin was known for being a prudent risk-taker, his penchant for taking risks has grown. Some even doubt he is still a rational actor. These doubts have been reinforced with the reckless Russian shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
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Dr Azriel Bermant
Foreign Policy and International Security Analyst, Historian, Lecturer, Author