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After Russia’s nuclear threat, what’s next?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine if it attempts to block plans for annexes to Russian-controlled eastern and southern Ukrainian territories has put the world on high alert for a possible nuclear conflict. Salem AlKetbi is a former Federal National Council candidate and political analyst from the UAE. He believes that the possibility of nuclear war is not an unlikely scenario.

When assessing the future of the Ukraine crisis, it seems that this factor must be taken into account. This scenario is highly unlikely, and it would be grossly negligent to ignore it. Putin is not just giving hints anymore, but is worried about the possibility of military defeat which he is not prepared to accept.

If he feels his forces are certain to fall on Ukrainian soil, and Moscow is convinced that nuclear weapons may be an option, he will not hesitate to use any weapon, no matter how destructive or consequential.

This was supported by Russian nuclear doctrine allowing the use of nuclear weapons if national safety is threatened. Also, the assertion by President Alexander Lukashenko that the world is closer to nuclear war than it is now by the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Other factors are contributing to the fear of a nuclear war.

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These include a lack in calm, wait-and see, and emotional stability in Russian decision-making. Russia seems to be in a state that is very nervous and tense, particularly after the news of the Ukrainian military counteroffensive’s success and the withdrawal of Russian forces.

The Kremlin is known for making emotional moves that indicate a rising level of anger and gradual loss of control over decision-making. Putin, an ex-intelligence spy and proud of his intelligence, is easily provoked when Western provocations are made. Putin cannot be controlled to avoid falling prey to the temptation of escalating the Ukraine conflict.

This is because he lacks the diplomatic flexibility necessary to manage the complex crisis in a manner that maximizes his country’s strategic benefits, just as China did with the Taiwan crisis. This is due to the history of Chinese wisdom, which Chinese leaders have benefited from to learn how to manage major crises with minimal loss and to adapt to new situations.


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Putin is a tough man. Putin leaves no room for the other Russian officials, even though he has Foreign Minister Lavrov who is one of the most skilled diplomats in the world. However, he hasn’t been the influence expected to help his country’s position during this crisis where his vast diplomatic experience is required.

The enthusiasm for a “humiliating loss” against Russia in Ukraine is fuelled by President Putin’s decision of partially mobilizing and recalling three hundred thousand reserve soldiers. The Russian military contingent being increased is an implicit acknowledgment of its ineffectiveness in Ukraine.

Also, it is claimed that the Russian air force will be defeated in many cities in Ukraine and withdraw from them. Objective reports show that the Russian air force has performed poorly and is one reason why the war is not over in Russia’s favor.

Despite the use of advanced aircraft and fighters, the Russian Air Force failed to control Ukrainian airspace or hit targets. Russia’s modern aircraft inventory will eventually run out. The Kremlin now has to solve the problem of managing the long-term war in the face of such military losses.

This is related to the ability to provide resources, particularly at the human level. There are also doubts about the Russian strategic weapons and ammunition stockpiles. This partly explains why there is a lot of anxiety about the possibility of nuclear retaliation in the event that the Russian plans for Ukraine are stopped.

In the next phase Russia will increase the theater of conflict on the ground in order to win the war. Due to the current difficult situation in which EU countries find themselves and the outrage at the decision to shut off the gas tap for these countries, I believe that escalation or counter-escalation will be the next scenario.

This war evolved from a limited military operation against Ukraine to an open war that Spanish Prime Minster Pedro Sancher called a war a waging against all Europe. The overwhelming US desire is to exhaust Russia in order to limit its support for China in any possible confrontation with Taiwan, as well as to stop Putin’s attempts to alter the world order and undermine American hegemony.

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