US fears Putin might lean on nuclear threats if Russia continues to fail in Ukraine

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U.S. intelligence officials imagine Vladimir Putin may threaten to unleash Russia’s nuclear arsenal if Ukrainian defense forces proceed to thwart his invasion of their nation.

Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the U.S. Protection Intelligence Company, revealed the issues in a brand new report on world threats dated March 15 and obtained by Fox Information Thursday.

“As this warfare and its penalties slowly weaken Russian standard power, Russia seemingly will more and more depend on its nuclear deterrent to sign the West and venture power to its inside and exterior audiences,” he wrote.

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier testifies during a House (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on diversity in the intelligence community, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 27, 2021. 

Protection Intelligence Company Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier testifies throughout a Home (Choose) Intelligence Committee listening to on variety within the intelligence neighborhood, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 27, 2021.  (REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz)

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He discovered that Moscow’s latest changes to its nuclear readiness “are seemingly supposed to intimidate,” and that the Kremlin might threaten using “tactical, non-strategic nuclear weapons” to scare an adversary into backing down from battle via an settlement that may be drafted in Russia’s favor.

Berrier additionally famous that Putin could be prone to threaten use of his nuclear arsenal as a deterrent to 3rd events.

Such a stance is clear in how U.S. and NATO leaders have refused requests from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to impose a no-fly zone over his nation that may put Western militaries in direct battle with Russian jets.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Yerevan, Armenia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a gathering of the Supreme Eurasian Financial Council in Yerevan, Armenia. (Shutterstock)

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U.S. officers imagine Putin intends to “overturn the U.S.-led guidelines primarily based post-Chilly Warfare worldwide order” and reclaim former Soviet territories.

“Russia views a robust, survivable nuclear drive as the inspiration of its nationwide safety, and its modernized basic functions forces as crucial to satisfy any standard army menace and venture Russian energy overseas,” Berrier wrote.

He famous that Russia spent that final yr publicly accusing NATO of more and more “encroaching on its borders” and finds the prospect of a Western-aligned Ukraine “unacceptable” and a “main political-military disaster.”

Nonetheless, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has stalled after three weeks, with Ukrainian protection forces outperforming the expectations of Russian army intelligence, in keeping with Western analysts.

The UK’s Ministry of Protection on Thursday described the Russian invasion as “faltering” as a result of sloppy logistics and poor planning.

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“Incessant Ukrainian counterattacks are forcing Russia to divert massive numbers of troops to defend their very own provide traces,” the ministry stated in a press release. “That is severely limiting Russia’s offensive potential.”

Because of this, Russian forces are more and more utilizing “indiscriminate strategies” of assault – long-range artillery and missiles — which are leveling cities, killing civilians and damaging infrastructure in retaliation for Ukraine’s efficient resistance, in keeping with the report.

The DIA additionally referred to as into query Putin’s credibility on his claims to have “modernized” the Russian army.

Rescuers work at a site of buildings damaged by a shelling, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released March 17, 2022.  

Rescuers work at a website of buildings broken by a shelling, as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on this handout image launched March 17, 2022.   (Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout through REUTERS )

“Russia’s modernization is meant to make sure Russia can subject a army able to participating within the full spectrum of warfare to discourage or defeat a large scope of threats, however preliminary setbacks in Ukraine name a few of Putin’s narrative into query,” Berrier wrote.

On the identical time, Russia claims it has up to date greater than 85% of its nuclear weapons and is engaged on growing missiles which are able to circumventing Western defenses with a view to “make sure that Russia can credibly inflict unacceptable harm on the West.”

Putin typically brags about his nation’s growth of fifth-generation fighter jets, in keeping with the report.

“Russia continues to enhance capabilities for its Floor Forces, Airborne Forces, and coastal troops. It’s upgrading fundamental battle tanks (MBTs) and introducing new MBTs, artillery, and a number of rocket launchers to its arsenal. Russia has additionally steadily elevated its variety of battalion tactical teams (BTGs)—the Floor Drive’s major maneuver component,” Berrier wrote. “In 2021, Russia’s Protection Minister claimed its drive construction might generate 168 BTGs, which is a 75 p.c improve from the 96 BTGs it claimed it might generate in 2016.”

Inside the subsequent decade, he warned, Russia might additionally subject next-generation nuclear weapons together with a brand new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile, “a transoceanic torpedo” and a brand new intercontinental cruise missile.

And Russia, which has a combined document on adhering to arms management treaties, seemingly has a secret stash of chemical weapons, in keeping with the report.

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“Russia virtually definitely maintains organic and chemical weapon applications,” Berrier wrote. “The US Authorities asserts that Russia isn’t in compliance with its obligations beneath the Chemical Weapons Conference (CWC), partly due to its use of a nerve agent—known as Novichok—within the tried assassination of former Russian Primary Intelligence Directorate (GRU) intelligence officer Sergey Skripal and his daughter in March 2018.”

Then in August 2020, Russian agent poisoned Kremlin opposition chief Alexei Navalny with the identical substance. He survived — however is at present imprisoned.

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