Photo courtesy of nytimes.com
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that their intelligence shows Ukraine is set to soon detonate a nuclear “dirty bomb” in their territory. Though he did not offer any evidence, it has reignited fears that atomic war may quickly become a reality in Ukraine. It’s the latest escalation in rhetoric from the embattled Putin, who continues to build on suspicions that he will use any means necessary to avoid further embarrassment.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied the serious accusation and joined his western allies in warning that this may be a cover for a Russian nuclear attack. Their claims were bolstered by the fact that Russia began military exercises involving nuclear weaponry. Ukraine has held the momentum in the war, leaving Russia desperate to avoid further global humiliation.
The move has put U.S. officials even more on edge, as this is often a move Putin makes before he acts. The Russian President often makes accusations against its enemy to cover their planned atrocities. While we’ve heard Russia increase its nuclear rhetoric since the invasion began, this certainly makes the threats feel more real.
Fear of nuclear war is already eroding U.S. support for Ukraine, and this declaration could accelerate that. While many still approve of standing against Russia, the escalation risk is increasing, leaving many wondering if it’s worth plunging the world into a third World War.
The U.S. and its allies will continue to counter Putin’s threats, but we are stuck waiting to see what Russia will do. While it’s impossible to know what Russia is capable of, this move is likely being made to stoke fear among Americans before the midterm elections. Several politicians are calling for an end to U.S. involvement, citing the risk of escalation and a litany of problems at home.
Assuming Russia doesn’t fulfill its own prophecy and use a dirty bomb, we’ll likely see the next steps established after the election cycle. Until then, expect the White House to continue to press on with its support for Zelensky and Ukraine.