Would Russia Start a Nuclear War if NATO Troops Fought in Ukraine?

Tanks firing
February 29, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaRussian FederationMilitaryPutinNuclear Weapons

Would Russia Start a Nuclear War if NATO Troops Fought in Ukraine?

Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin warned that the West risks provoking a nuclear war if it were to send any troops to fight in Ukraine.

Putin is Rattling Sabers – Threatens West With Nuclear Weapons: On Thursday, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin warned that the West risks provoking a nuclear war if it were to send any troops to fight in Ukraine. The Russian leader issued the threat at the top of his annual State of the Nation address and ahead of Russia's presidential election next month – which he is certain to win.

During his more than two-hour address at the Gostiny Dvor conference center in Moscow, just a stone's throw from the Kremlin, Putin spoke on a range of topics, including Russia's historically low birthrate and the need for better broadband coverage. While the 71-year-old Russian leader said that claims by the West that Russia intends to attack Europe, he warned that his nation could strike with nuclear weapons if provoked.

Putin's remarks were made after French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that the possibility of sending Western troops to Ukraine "cannot be ruled out." Several other European leaders swiftly rejected the suggestion that Western nations would send any foreign fighters to aid Kyiv.

"[The West] should finally understand that we also have weapons, yes, they know about it, and I've just said this, there are weapons that can hit targets on their territory, and that everything they are inventing now, what they are scaring the whole world with, that all this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons, and thus the destruction of civilization," Putin stated.

He further claimed that the United States and its Western allies are pushing the world closer to nuclear confrontation.

"Don't they realize that or what? These are people, you know, who have not gone through hard trials. They have already forgotten what war is. Here we are, even our current generation, went through such hard trials during the fight against international terrorism in the Caucasus. Now the same thing is happening in the conflict in Ukraine. They think it's all some kind of cartoon for them," Putin added. "In fact, Russophobia, like other ideologies of racism, national superiority and exclusivity, blinds, deprives of reason."

Hypersonic Weapons Praised

Putin proclaimed that Russia has vastly modernized its nuclear arsenal and went on to highlight the capabilities of the Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic missile system.

"The Tsirkon sea-launched hypersonic strike system has already been used in combat. It was not mentioned in the 2018 message. But this system, too, is already in service," Putin stated.

According to state media news outlet Tass, the Tsirkon hypersonic missile was developed and is produced by the Reutov-based NPO Mashinostroyeniya, a subsidiary of the Tactical Missiles Corporation. In a 2019 address to the Federal Assembly, Putin said the Tsirkon missile was capable of developing Mach 9 speeds and had a range of more than 1,000 km.

Leaked Russian Docs

Putin's speech came just a day after secret military files were obtained by The Financial Times that showed the Kremlin's plans for a nuclear war.

According to the documents, Russian military officials had considered using nuclear weapons if 20% of its strategic ballistic missile submarines were sunk, 30% of its attack submarines (including the Yasen-class) were lost, or three airfields were destroyed. The files included details of wargames and war simulations often conducted for military strategic planning ­ and which were reportedly presented to naval officers.

The documents were dated from 2008 to 2014 and reportedly included scenarios of a conflict between Russia and China – a fact that is noteworthy as the two nations have moved closer together.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].