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  • Writer's pictureAurimas Navys

RUSSIA'S NUCLEAR BLACKMAIL IS THE CARD ON WHICH UKRAINE'S FATE IS AT STAKE (27 03 2023)

Political strategic level

The Ukrainian government has called for an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council to "counter the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail". This is in response to Russian Führer Putin's plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. A futile move, like trying to pat the children of a barren mother.

Russia claims that the plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is a response to the West's increasing military support for Ukraine. Mr Putin announced the plan in a television interview on Saturday, saying it was prompted by the UK's decision last week to supply Ukraine with depleted uranium munitions.

V. Putin said that Russia was following the example of the United States in deploying its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus. He noted that Washington has nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

"We are doing what they have been doing for decades - deploying them in certain allied countries, preparing launch platforms and training their crews", he said.

V. Putin, in explaining his move, also mentioned that Belarus's impostor President Alexander Lukashenko had long asked for nuclear weapons to be restored in his country so that it could supposedly oppose NATO.

Both Lukashenko's support for war and Putin's plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus were condemned by the Belarusian opposition on 25 March. Belarus celebrated Freedom Day in Vilnius on 25 March.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also condemned the move on Sunday. "Ukraine expects the UK, China, the US and France to take effective action against the Kremlin's nuclear blackmail", the statement said, adding that these countries "bear a special responsibility" for nuclear aggression.

"The world must stand united against a man who threatens the future of human civilisation," the statement said.

Tactical nuclear weapons are designed for battlefield use, with a short range and low yield compared to the much more powerful nuclear warheads found in long-range missiles. Russia plans to maintain control over the nuclear weapons sent to Belarus and the construction of storage facilities will be completed by 1 July, Putin said.

Russia has the world's largest stockpile of nuclear warheads. According to the Federation of American Scientists, Putin controls some 5 977 such warheads, compared with 5 428 under the control of United States President Joe Biden.

Of those warheads, an estimated 1 500 are obsolete and out of service (but probably still intact), 2 889 are in reserve and 1 588 are deployed strategic warheads. 812 are deployed on land-based ballistic missiles, 576 on submarines and around 200 on heavy bomber bases.

The US has 1 644 deployed strategic nuclear warheads, China has a total of 350 warheads, France has 290 and the UK 225.

Russia is estimated to have around 400 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, which the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates could carry up to 1 185 warheads. Russia also operates 10 nuclear-powered submarines capable of carrying a maximum of 800 warheads and has 60-70 nuclear bombers.

According to the Russian nuclear doctrine, the Russian President is the final decision-maker when it comes to Russia's use of strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons. The so-called nuclear suitcase, or "Cheget" (named after Mount Cheget in the Caucasus mountains), is always with the President. Another such communication suitcase is believed to be in the possession of the Russian Minister of Defence, currently Sergei Shoigu, and the Chief of the General Staff, currently Valery Gerasimov. Through these communications, the Russian President directly instructs the top military commanders, who in turn instruct the missile forces, via the secret Kazbek electronic command and control network.

If Putin believes that Russia is threatened with a strategic nuclear attack, he would use Chebek to give a direct launch order to the General Staff and the reserve commands that have nuclear codes. Once activated, Strategic Missile Force units would fire on real or perceived targets.

In the midst of Russia's nuclear threats, the US said it would "monitor the consequences of Putin's announcement". So far, Washington has seen "no signs". "We have seen no indication that he has fulfilled this promise or moved any nuclear weapons," said John Kirby, the National Security Council's strategic communications coordinator.

But this morning, Russia added more fuel to the fire by announcing that it will complete the construction of coastal infrastructure in the Pacific Ocean for nuclear submarines by early 2024. The latter will be armed with Poseidon nuclear-powered supertorpedoes. In January, Russia announced that it had produced its first set of Poseidon torpedoes. Four years ago, Putin announced this radically new type of strategic nuclear weapon, confirming that it would have its own nuclear power source.

For the time being, Poseidon is a superweapon like the Armata tank, a non-moving prop in Red Square.

All this nuclear hysteria, which began immediately after the visit of the Chinese Communist Party gensek to the Kremlin, is, we would assume, intended to frighten the West with the seriousness of Moscow's intentions. And it seems to be succeeding.

Bulgaria has declared that the world is at risk of a serious war if the Russian and Ukrainian authorities do not come to the negotiating table. Commenting on Putin's plans to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Vice-President Iliana Iotova said that the situation was becoming "more and more dangerous and scary" and that the parties must enter into negotiations. "This is what we want, because more weapons in all countries leads, as you can see, to unpredictable decisions that almost threaten a serious war. I hope that reason will prevail and that in this case we are talking more about threats than real action," Yotova told reporters.

Meanwhile, NATO criticised Putin for his "dangerous and irresponsible" nuclear rhetoric and said that "Russia's reference to NATO sharing nuclear weapons is completely misleading. NATO allies are acting in full compliance with their international obligations", said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu.

A classic that Zhirinovsky spoke about very precisely. The West is cowardly and needs to be constantly intimidated and pressured with nuclear weapons, he said. The real or alleged nuclear blackmail of terrorist Russia is the card on which the fate of Ukraine is at stake.

Operational level

President Zelensky said yesterday that ending the war in Ukraine already this year is the common task of the civilised world. He also noted that it is now essential that everyone with information influence is involved in information work. "This is not only for journalists. It concerns everyone who can spread the truth about aggression. Who can remind the world about the Ukrainians and Ukrainian women who lived through the occupation, the losses... About Ukraine fighting for freedom and justice for our people and for all peoples threatened by Russian tyranny," said Mr Zelensky.

His words came as Russia confirmed that its air defences had stopped a Ukrainian drone attack. A Ukrainian Tu-141 Strizh unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was used in an attack controlled by Ukrainian forces in the town of Kireyevsk in the Tula region, 220 km south of Moscow. "The Polye-21 electronic device started to work against the Ukrainian drone, which put its navigation system out of action," the Russian Ministry of War Crimes said. The attack may have injured three people and damaged apartment buildings.

The Ukrainian army completed training in the UK on how to operate Challenger 2 tanks. The tankers have been training since the second half of January. The British Ministry of Defence has not indicated where exactly the Challenger 2 tanks for Ukraine are now.

Russia is turning Ukraine's Avdiivka into a "post-apocalyptic movie set" by intensifying shelling and forcing an almost total closure of the border town, a top local official said on Sunday. About 2 000 civilians remain in the town, located about 90 km south-west of besieged Bakhmut. Before the war it had more than 30 000 inhabitants. The evacuation of utility workers has begun and mobile phone services will soon be switched off "because of the presence of Russian occupying informants in the town", the head of the military administration, V. Barabash, said on Telegram.

Tactical level

Over the past day, the enemy fired 2 missiles and 23 air strikes, and fired 38 rounds of rocket-assisted volley fire at defenders' positions and civilian infrastructure objects.

The likelihood of missile and air strikes across Ukraine remains high.

The occupiers are attacking in the directions of Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and the Sea, where the defenders have repelled more than 60 enemy attacks.

The Russian occupation troops continue to suffer heavy losses. In the village of Troitsky in Luhansk region, around 100 Russian dead bodies were brought to the morgue of the local central district hospital over the past day. In addition, some 140 seriously wounded occupiers have been treated.

Ukrainian aviation carried out 3 strikes on occupier concentrations the previous day. Rocket and artillery units struck a checkpoint, 4 enemy concentrations of manpower, weapons and military equipment, an electronic warfare station and an ammunition depot.

Lithuania

Sunday was quiet and peaceful. Scammers tricked gullible women out of incomprehensible sums of money. Politicians tricked their voters, fighting a war of words on Facebook during breaks from the trickery. Climate warming in Maria's land manifested itself in a chilling effect, tricking the warmth-starved compatriots.

Pictured here is a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile, Yars, with a range of up to 12 000 km. Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

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