‘This Is Not a Bluff’: Putin Amps Up Nuke Threats
“Russia will use all the instruments at its disposal to counter a threat against its territorial integrity—this is not a bluff,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a chilling national address that also blamed the West for the war in Ukraine and ordered reserve forces in Russia to mobilize for war.
The move comes “as Moscow seeks to buttress its army’s flagging manpower and regain the offensive following stinging losses on the battlefield,” notes the Wall Street Journal.
Putin repeated a number of now-common lies—about the current war being a mission to liberate Ukraine from neo-Nazis and about Western nations turning Ukrainians against Russia and fomenting war. “The goal of that part of the West is to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country,” he said.
He also claimed that the West had “resorted to the nuclear blackmail,” with “some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries” making statements about “the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction—nuclear weapons—against Russia.”
“I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have,” said Putin. “In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.”
“Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind rose can turn around,” he continued. “It is our historical tradition and the destiny of our nation to stop those who are keen on global domination and threaten to split up and enslave our motherland. Rest assured that we will do it this time as well.”
This war has had a nuclear dimension from the outset. People in Western governments have taken it seriously. I’m sure they’ll continue to do so. But any use of nuclear weapons by Putin would be stupid, self-defeating, and lead to extremely grave consequences for Russia.
— Matthew Harries (@harries_matthew) September 21, 2022
Putin’s speech—which you can read, translated, in full—was followed by an address from Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who said Russia was “at war not only with Ukraine and the Ukrainian army, but with the collective West.”
Shoigu said 300,000 reservists—excluding students—would be drafted to fight in Ukraine.
The draft follows a Tuesday announcement from “Kremlin proxies” in southern and eastern Ukraine that the areas would hold votes “on referendums on annexation to Russia,” notes The New York Times. “The Kremlin signaled that if Russia were to go forward with annexation—even if no other countries recognized it—any further military action by Ukraine in those regions could be seen as an attack on Russia itself.”
A few perspectives on Putin’s speech:
The speech from Putin today is a careful balancing act of a leader under pressure, who is trying to: 1. please hardliners and Russian milbloggers; 2. not displease the general populace; 3. appease the military; 4. give the impression he is not losing a war. 1/20 ????
Article from Reason.com