Seven months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, analysts agree that President Putin’s forces are on the back foot, but he said a “diplomatic solution” must be reached, one that “preserves the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
EU ‘must take seriously’ Putin nuclear threats – Borrell, The EU must not ignore Vladimir Putin’s threats that he could use nuclear weapons in the conflict in Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign policy chief
Vladimir Putin’s Nuclear Threats
In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been ratcheting up his rhetoric on nuclear weapons. He has threatened to target European cities with nuclear missiles, and even hinted at using nuclear weapons first in a conflict.
This is not the first time Putin has made such threats. In 2001, he warned that Russia was ready to use nuclear weapons if it felt threatened. And in 2007, he said that Russia could launch a preemptive nuclear strike if it felt its existence was threatened.
First, Putin may be trying to take advantage of the fact that the United States is currently preoccupied with other crises, like the Islamic State and Iran. By raising the specter of nuclear war, Putin may be hoping to force the U.S. to pay more attention to Russia.
Second, Putin may be trying to shore up support at home. With the Russian economy in trouble and sanctions biting, Putin may be using the threat of nuclear war to distract from domestic problems and rally the Russian people behind him.
Finally, Putin may believe that these threats will give him leverage in negotiations with the West. By making it clear that
The EU Must Take Putin’s Nuclear Threats Seriously
The European Union must take Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats seriously, saysJosep Borrell, the bloc’s top diplomat.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais, Borrell said the EU should not “underestimate” the risk of a nuclear conflict erupting between Russia and the West.
“We are witnessing a serious deterioration in relations between the West and Russia,” he said. “And we cannot rule out the possibility of a nuclear conflict breaking out.”
Borrell’s comments come amid rising tensions between Russia and the West, fuelled by Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its continued support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia over these issues, and relations between the two sides have reached their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
In recent months, Putin has repeatedly warned that Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons if it feels its security is threatened. He has also said that Russia is developing new types of nuclear weapons that are “invulnerable to enemy missiles”.
If Vladimir Putin were to follow through with his nuclear threats against the European Union, it is unsure how we would react. This is a scary thought, as a nuclear war would be devastating to everyone involved. The EU must take these threats seriously and do everything in our power to prevent them from happening.
At the same time, the president announced the call-up of 300,000 Russians who have done compulsory military service, sparking protests and reports of people fleeing the country to avoid being sent to the front line.
He shared the anxious lament he was hearing everywhere he went. From friends on holiday, to leaders from around the world attending the UN General Assembly this week, they were all asking him when this war would end. “Stop this war, I can’t pay my electricity bill,” was, he regretted, a common refrain.
Mr Borrell was willing to say in public what many express in private – that Europe and its allies were struggling to control the narrative in this war as Russia spins the view that European sanctions against Russia were to blame for this suffering.
But Moscow’s new and worrying threats, including a thinly-veiled nuclear one, are also concentrating minds. Most Western leaders, including Mr Borrell, are still categorical about the need to stay the course in a conflict with many far-reaching consequences, most of all for Ukraine, but many others too.
Mr Borrell dismissed concerns that the EU’s arms supplies were running low, and said it must continue providing military support to Ukraine, as well as applying economic sanctions against President Putin and his allies and conducting diplomatic activity.
He admitted that the rising cost of energy prices caused by the conflict was a matter of concern.
“People in my country tell me the price of the gas means we cannot continue working, we cannot continue making my business run,” the Spanish politician said, adding he had heard similar concerns from leaders from Africa, South America and Southeast Asia.
“I cannot bear the consequences of this war,” he said.
Mr Borrell called on President Putin to play his part in reaching a negotiated solution, saying “in order to dance the tango, you need two”.
“Everybody who has gone to Moscow, to the Kremlin to talk to Putin, they came back with the same answer, ‘I [Putin] have military objectives, and if I don’t get these military objectives I will continue the fight.’ This is certainly a worrisome direction, but we have to continue to support Ukraine,” he said.