'Only one option': Pro-Russian commander urges nuclear war with NATO as Ukraine regains ground

'Only one option': Pro-Russian commander urges nuclear war with NATO as Ukraine regains ground
Image via screengrab.

Alexander Khodakovsky, the commander of the pro-Russian Donetsk People's Republic Battalion in the occupied Donbas region of Ukraine, told Kremlin propagandists on state television channel Russia 1 that the option to use nuclear weapons must be on the table because Russia's conventional means are insufficient to achieve victory in President Vladimir Putin's failing "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Khodakovsky's remarks come after weeks of significant defeats by Ukraine's defense forces, who have the backing of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization coalition led by the United States. On October 5th, Putin illegally annexed four territories Eastern Ukraine following September 30th's sham referenda, however, Russia has made no discernible gains and has been trumped by Ukrainian freedom fighters in key cities such as Kherson despite Putin's implementation of a domestic conscription.

The conflict of choice that Putin commenced on February 24th has resulted in tens of thousands of casualties between both sides. In addtion to well-documented evidence of widespread war crimes committed at the hands of Russian troops, Putin's lackluster legions have resorted to attacks on civilian infrastructure – a tactic designed to terrify the Ukranians into submission as winter approaches. Russia is also purchasing drones from Iran as its supply of outdated materiel – not unlike its collection of wary international enablers – dwindles.

READ MORE: Vladimir Putin's blunders and what it means to be Ukrainian: An interview with Lawrence Freedman

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – Time Magazine's 2022 Person of the Year – has vowed to never surrender and believes that "there would be no war" if Putin died. And with the news that President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are close to approving a deal to sell patriot missiles to Kyiv, Moscow's options are eroding away.

On Tuesday, Khodakovsky – a native of Donestk, Ukraine – provided his apocalyptic battlefield assessment:

You know, we are aware of our currrent capabilities. We have a number of units which are being rotated so they can recover at bases in Russia. There are now battalions which have formed and are being formed. For example, the Ural-1 Battalion, which was formed in Yekaterinburg, is now moving to the front. That's around 500 men, of whom basically 95 percent are shock troops, very highly-motivated guys. They've been equipped not just with body armor and helmets, but armor and armored vehicles like the Typhoon. That's to say, in Russia training is underway. But nevertheless, we realize that our resources, of course, have their limits. And the next spiral of escalation can only be one – nuclear.

Therefore, if, for example, NATO countries cross certain boundaries – they're already feeling so frivolous when they say openly, like the heads of the German Defense Ministry, that it would be good to test out our Leopards in field conditions and see how they hit the Russians – we can no longer say that they're just quietly supplying or selling arms. They're now directly involved! Correspondingly, they're very close to crossing that red line.

So everyone realizes that the next spiral of escalation can only be the nuclear stage of war. And how prepared the West is now for the situation to develop in this way, I don't think it is, because they're constantly stressing that this can't be allowed under any circumstances. But they're already approaching the threshold of their capabilities.

Beyond that red line the conversation must be an entirely different one. We don't have the ability — we're a country which is now fighting the entire Western world, and we don't have the resources to defeat the NATO bloc with conventional means. But we have nuclear weapons for that. We built them specially for such situations.

That is why there is only one option.

Putin has for months rattled his atomic saber – although he, along with Western leaders – have concurred that a nuclear war "can never be won and must never be fought." Recently, Putin, who is grappling with growing domestic unrest, has nonetheless begun to change his tune. Last week, he threatened to reevaluate his nation's no-first-strike policy and cited the absence of a parallel American doctrine as an excuse for parity. Meanwhile, NATO and the US jointly maintain that they are neither officially feuding with Russia nor anticipating a nuclear engagement.

Footage and translation were provided by British Broadcasting Corporation correspondent Francis Starr. Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: Vladimir Putin's 'fundamentalist mindset' could lead him to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine: journalist

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