The nightmare of a nuclear war is getting closer and closer to materializing. The attack on the Kremlin has inflamed the spirits of the belligerents and their allies even more, if possible. But, as Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin explained, responding with atomic weapons to a drone “is out of the question.”
The drone explosion at the Kremlin could trigger a nuclear response
The drone attack on Moscow’s Kremlin, however, is not an act destined to slip away without a trace. Although the dynamics and responsibility still remain to be clarified. In the past few hours, Russia has made massive attacks on major cities in Ukraine. While the drone that was intercepted in the vicinity of the presidential palace in Kiev eventually turned out to be a Ukrainian vehicle that was lost control of.
The facts from the Kremlin, however, reveal to us a relatively new fact. Ukrainian forces, provided they did it, can strike thanks to weapons supplied by the West on Russian territory, as also demonstrated by the two drones that have targeted two refineries in the Rostov and Krasnodar Regions in recent hours.
Hence the fears of a nuclear war. When Kiev’s much-hyped counteroffensive begins, provided that Europe provides the promised ammunition with Brussels now ready to use Pnrr funds in order to keep its word to Zelensky, the conflict if these are the premsse could increasingly involve Russian territory as well.
If this is the case, Moscow could feel empowered to use all the weapons at its disposal, including atomic ones. Thus igniting a catastrophic nuclear war not only for Ukraine but for the entire world.
Why the talk of a nuclear war is returning
In the chaotic hours following the attack on the Kremlin, the Pentagon reported that it believed it was “very unlikely” that Russia in response would use atomic weapons. Earlier, however, some Western chancelleries had evoked the risk of nuclear war.
Why the talk of nuclear war is coming back is quickly stated. In recent months Putin signed a document explicating his nuclear deterrence doctrine. According to what the president put in black and white, Moscow reserves the right to use atomic weapons. Thus in the event of “threats to Russia’s existence” and the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state.”
Put simply, if the Ukrainian counteroffensive were to involve Russian territory – theoretically including that annexed after the sham referendums and Crimea – then Putin could feel entitled to cross the atomic red line. Perhaps using one of the thousands of tactical nuclear weapons at his disposal.
In conclusion, Ukraine has every right – if not the duty – to defend itself in the face of the Russian invasion.
But, at the same time, the West, which is now a party to the conflict, would be reckless and superficial if it did not keep well in mind the many risks of the outbreak of a nuclear or world war.
Given the total lack of a diplomatic channel, everything possible is probably not being done at the moment to arrive at a cease-fire. And someday, perhaps, someone will have to provide some explanation for this.