WARSAW : It has been a long time since the threat of using nuclear weapons has been brandished so openly by a world leader, but Vladimir Putin has just done it, warning in a speech that he has the weapons available if anyone dares to use military means to try to stop Russia’s takeover of Ukraine.
The threat may have been empty, a mere baring of fangs by the Russian president, but it was noticed. It kindled visions of a nightmarish outcome in which Putin’s ambitions in Ukraine could lead to a nuclear war through accident or miscalculation.
“As for military affairs, even after the dissolution of the USSR and losing a considerable part of its capabilities, today’s Russia remains one of the most powerful nuclear states,” Putin said, in his pre-invasion address early Thursday.
When former U.S. President Donald Trump made an implicit threat to use nuclear weapons against North Korea in August 2017, many were shocked. Trump spoke before diplomacy and his fruitless summits with Kim began the following year. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” But North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is far smaller than Russia’s.