Nuclear threat: can the world afford to call Putin’s bluff?
The changing of Russia’s nuclear status to high alert after setbacks in Ukraine is cause for concern
The world is having to ask a question that’s become familiar of late: is Vladimir Putin bluffing?
Russia’s president set his nuclear arsenal on a “special regime of high alert combat duty” in the midst of his invasion of Ukraine. Citing “aggressive statements” from the opposing nations, he gave the order live on national television on Sunday after the US and EU dramatically stepped up their response to the attack.
Nuclear specialists are debating what exactly that would mean in practice because Russia does not publish its nuclear procedures. But the threat seemed clear after Putin’s warning — made as he ordered Ukraine’s invasion on February 24 — that any attempt to interfere would suffer “consequences you have never encountered in your history”. ..