Russia’s annexation puts world ‘two or three steps away’ from nuclear war

A screen grab from a video posted on Feb. 19, 2022, shows a Zircon cruise missile launching from a Russian navy frigate during military drills. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that he wouldn’t hesitate to use nuclear weapons to ward off Ukraine’s attempt to reclaim control of its occupied regions that Moscow has annexed

LONDON — President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of the annexation of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine signals the onset of a new and highly dangerous phase in the seven-month old war, one that Western officials and analysts fear could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons for the first time in 77 years.

Putin has previously threatened to resort to nuclear weapons if Russia’s goals in Ukraine continue to be thwarted. The annexation brings the use of a nuclear weapon a step closer by giving Putin a potential justification on the grounds that “the territorial integrity of our country is threatened,” as he put it in his speech last week.

He renewed the threat on Friday with an ominous comment that the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki created a “precedent” for the use of nuclear weapons, echoing references he has made in the past to the U.S. invasion of Iraq as setting a precedent for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

https://www.stripes.com/theaters/europe/2022-10-01/russia-ukraine-annexation-nuclear-war-7536055.html

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