US 'not doing enough' to prevent Russia from nuking Ukraine: retired general
The United States under President Joe Biden's leadership is "not doing enough" to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from deploying his vast arsenal of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, according to retired Army Brigadier General Kevin Ryan, whose remarks come as Russia revamps its threats to unleash radioactive hell onto its neighbor.
In an interview with Responsible Statecraft published on Monday, Ryan explained that Putin "will demand" that his brass prepare to shatter the atomic taboo as his forces fail to make meaningful gains fifteen months into Russia's bloody invasion. One particularly troubling scenario could involve Ukraine engaging in attempts to oust Russia from occupied Crimea, which Putin illegally annexed in 2014.
"If the Russian military is not able to escalate or to prevent Ukraine from doing those things, Putin will have no other way of escalating the war militarily than through a nuclear weapon," Ryan said. "His conventional military has basically shown itself to be incapable of escalating beyond what they’ve done, and his many bombing campaigns have not broken the Ukrainian people or their country. So I don’t know of any other weapon or capability that he could use in that war, and he will not allow the recapture of large parts of these annexed provinces or Crimea."
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Ryan noted that because Putin's domestic mobilization efforts have yielded little net progress, "it seems like we're on a track toward escalation. Escalation from a Ukrainian perspective means an offensive, and from a Russian perspective, the only way for them to really escalate is with a nuclear weapon. So, yeah, I think we're on a path to that."
Ryan also stressed that due to the slim chances of Kyiv agreeing to a ceasefire that cedes any of its territories to Moscow, the US-led Western alliance must "prepare for a nuclear battlefield. No one has ever fought a war on a battlefield where nuclear weapons are being used. In World War II, we fired nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and then the war ended, so we didn't really have to fight and maneuver and do things on a battlefield that had nuclear radiation, fallout, etc."
Despite Ryan's grim analysis — he places the odds of Russia nuking Ukraine at "greater than 50 percent" — Ryan believes that World War III is preventable as long as the US has a clear plan to respond to such an attack.
"We're saying a lot of things, but we're not doing enough, and that bothers me. And that should bother the American people and the American government," Ryan concluded. "We should be doing something."
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Responsible Statecraft's conversation with Ryan continues here.
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