The war in Ukraine is taking a diabolic turn. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, confirmed on June 16th that his first nuclear weapons have been moved to his puppet state of Belarus. Alarmed, peace-loving nations of the world branded Mr Putin’s act at once as rash and reckless, insensitive and incendiary. Unfazed, Mr Putin, as is his wont, defended his condemnable action as containment, nothing more and nothing less. Global nations have every reason for choosing not to believe him.
As Mr Putin has already positioned his first set of tactical weapons in Belarus, global backlash is growing. Sensing bigger trouble, Mr Putin has already begun assuring global nations that he would use those weapons only if Russian territory comes under attack. The United States too says no evidence is at hand to show Russia is going nuclear. Yet, these theories may be wrong because the country in question happens to be Russia. https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/putin-says- russia-positions-nuclear-bombs-belarus-warning-west-2023-06- 16/
The Dream Launch Pad
With vassals Belarus and its rogue president, the 68-year-old Alexander Lukashenko, at his eternal beck and call, Mr Putin shed no sweat over hunting for a nuclear launch pad in 2022 for his war in Ukraine. With tremendous ease, he found his satellite state of Belarus coming to his rescue. Equally happy and contented now, he is busy moving his tactical nuclear warheads to Belarus for an imminent nuclear attack. He is confident of completing the transfer by end June.
What are tactical nuclear weapons? These are small warheads and delivery weapons for limited strikes on warfronts. Being focused short-range weapons, they can smash targets like enemy troops and weaponry. As they have lower yield, they destroy but do not destruct in atomic proportions. Against this, the long-range strategic missiles have deadlier nuclear warheads fitted to them. They are capable of reducing whole cities to rubble. https://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/tactical-nuclear-weapons/
Video Courtesy: YouTube/BBC News
The Pacifists are Dead Wrong
Do not dismiss the tactical nuclear weapons as tiny troublemakers. While the smallest of them can be one kiloton or less, the largest among them can be as large as 100 kilotons. One kiloton means the warhead can generate radioactivity equivalent to a thousand tonnes of exploding TNT, trinitrotoluene. The potential of tactical nukes for deathly destruction can be gauged from a simple comparison: the Little Boy dropped in 1945 on Hiroshima during the World War II was just 15 kilotons.
However, global pacifists are spreading contrary theories meanwhile. Their contention is that Russia will not use these tactical weapons and it is just false alarm. They cite Mr Putin’s imminent meeting with African heads of state on June 18th in St Petersburg for evidence. These leaders from the Dark Continent were in Russia after visiting Ukraine. Their mission was to end the war in Ukraine and help bring about peace in Eastern Europe. However earnest were the intentions of the Africans, the pacifists and theories are dead wrong. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/putin-meets- african-leaders-russia-discuss-ukraine-peace-plan-no-visib- rcna89898
Desperately Daring and Devilish
The world need to understand nothing would make Russia refrain from tactical attacks. Consider this for proof. While the African leaders were meeting up, Mr Putin went on to target St Petersburg with missiles. Reason why the assembled African leaders should have condemned the illegal invasion of Ukraine, rather than trying to understand what troubles Kiev is going through. Africa’s condemnation of Russia should have topped the agenda and not futile diplomatic overtures to end the hopelessly unending war.
Mr Zelensky’s concerns make sense here. He does not want to negotiate with Mr Putin when the Russian forces continue to occupy territories in Ukraine. Enraged by what he considers as Ukraine’s unacceptable temerity, Mr Putin is planning now to use his tactical weapons, stationed in Belarus, as pressure points. Russia and its vassal Belarus are getting emboldened, daring and devilish buy the day. Though this show of daredevilry is a clear sign of territorial desperation, it doesn’t get more reckless and ruthless than this. https://www.trtworld.com/europe/no- visible-progress-in-putins-meeting-with-african-leaders-on- ukraine-13665871
Unleash Psychological Terrorism
Mr Putin’s timing tells it all. In March, he said he was arming his puppet Belarus with nukes. Now, he is moving his first nuclear weapons to Belarus by July 8th. This deployment promises to be a storm as it will happen just before NATO’s Vilnius summit on July 11-12. As the deployment uncannily happens around summit’s date, the stationing of the nukes in Belarus betrays Mr Putin’s arrogant and condescending attitude towards diplomatic niceties and protocols of perfection. No two ways about it, Russia’s strongman is thumbing his nose at NATO now.
Willy-nilly, this arrogance will force the Vilnius summit to focus solely on Mr Putin’s new nuclear threat. Sensing NATO’s solidarity on the Ukraine issue, Mr Putin and his puppet Mr Lukashenko are desperate to destroy this unity. They are now trying to unleash psychological terrorism by stationing nuclear warheads tactially close to NATO. Mr Putin’s idea is to draw NATO’s eastern and central European members headlong into direct conflict with Russia and Mr Putin. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_215138.htm
The Dive into Adventurism
Consumed by this idea, Mr Putin is reviving the nuclear arms race in Europe. He tried doing this first by issuing nuclear threats in the ongoing war in Ukraine. Then, he tried harder by suspending his country’s participation in New START, which is the last remaining arms control treaty between Russia and the United States. He is trying still harder now by moving nuclear warheads for positioning in Belarus.
Worse, NATO’s tiny nuclear presence in Europe is pepping Mr Putin up to dive into adventurism. He is delighted at the thought of the United States having just about 200 tactical nuclear weapons, half of them in Europe, against a massive 7,000 in the Seventies. Even these 200 are scattered across five allied nations. https://www.cfr.org/in-brief/nuclear- weapons-europe-mapping-us-and-russian- deployments#:~:text=Today%2C%20U.S.%20tactical%20nuclear%20weapons,no%20longer%20host%20U.S.%20weapons. These five are Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
Straining at the Seams
Such a scenario demands America gets its immediate plan of action ready. It should move a part of its nukes to eastern NATO nations, like the Baltic States and Poland that are under great threat from Russia. This is the only way to stop Bucha’s Butcher on his tracks. America and allies would need steely resolve and iron will, much more than nukes, to counter the murderous moves of Mr Putin and his puppet president in Belarus.
More so because Mr Lukashenko claims that Belarus has received bombs thrice powerful than what were dropped on Hiroshimha and Nagasaki. The puppet’s claim is plain provocation. This needling is a clear sign that the Russia-West relationship is straining at the seams. This is why the fear that the weapons positioned in Belarus could be placed closer to NATO members is real. Naturally, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are nervous. NATO too aired its concern over Russia deploying nuclear warheads close to its northern borders. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/4/3/russia-to-put- nukes-in-belarus-near-nato-borders-envoy-says
The Man-Made Info Deficit
The concerns are genuine and cannot be dismissed. As per an American estimate Russia has nearly 2,000 low-explosive tactical weapons, and 5,900 strategic weapons that could reduce entire cities to rubble. Yet, Joe Biden, president of the United States, is saying Mr Putin and Mr Lukashenko are just sabre-rattling. Unfazed by this verbal assault, the despotic duo claim their threats are as real as America’s deployment of tactical weapons across Europe. The duo go on to tell Mr Biden that America’s tactical weapons and their deployment cannot be couched under diplomatic niceties. https://www.aljazeera.com/tag/nuclear-weapons/
In all fairness, tt seems Russia is trying to blackmail the West. The tactical deployment in Belarus is Russia’s crude way of telling Europe to back down. This whole tactical-weapon-deployment drama has had one positive fallout. The world has been made aware of the fact that the United States and Russia no longer share their statistics on nukes. All available numbers are unreal, phoney and suspect. This man-made info deficit on nuclear weapons, both tactical and strategic, possessed by the super powers magnifies the dangers the world faces today.
The New Brand of Nuclear Intimidation
As the United States and Russia stifle the flow of their nuclear data systematically, these biggies are turning confidently reckless. It is time the nations of the world woke up to the growing reality of this new brand of nuclear intimidation. The threat is real, as Russia has been stopping the flow of vital info on its nukes with a premeditated plan of action. For instance, in February, Russia suspended the 2010 New Start treaty. Suspending this treaty was a travesty of transparency as the pact attempted to limit the nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles of the two nuclear powers. https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2023-03/news/russia- suspends-new-start
Such asphyxiation of info has dried up all sorts of info on global nukes, their movements, inspections and restrictions. Desperate to be one up on its nuclear rival, the United States went on to emulate Russia by stopping its 6-month data-sharing on nukes. This nuclear info-squeeze is aiding acceleration of nuclear warheads, both tactical and strategic. The info-squeeze is also turning nuclear states more reckless and irresponsible. Russia is a classic example of this phenomenon. Being its vassal, Belarus is no exception.