Experts call Putin's nuclear threats bluff — Lithuanian FM

Gabrielius Landsbergis
Gabrielius Landsbergis

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's nuclear threats are likely a bluff, as engaging in a nuclear war would result in significant losses for him and his country, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said in BBC World on May 10.

“He has nothing to gain from this, but everything to lose,” stated Landsbergis.

“Some countries are on his side, or so he believes. China clearly supports Russia, and global partners in Latin America and Africa also lean more toward Putin. However, if these threats materialize, these partnerships could vanish instantly.”

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The Lithuanian Foreign Minister also pointed out that the stance taken by some major powers to avoid escalation might lead to catastrophic results.

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“This could escalate into a broader conflict beyond Ukraine, drawing in additional countries,” he added.

“Because we are sending a very clear message to Putin: If you threaten us, we will back down.”

Russia's nuclear threats

Russian leader Vladimir Putin directed the Russian general staff to prepare for exercises involving non-strategic nuclear weapons on May 6.

The Kremlin justified this move by citing Western statements about the potential deployment of troops to Ukraine.

Read also: Despite 'reckless rhetoric', Russia not planning to use nukes - White House

Ukrainian intelligence later reported that they had not observed “anything new, except for the emotional impact of the statements.”

Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) observed that Russia's renewed nuclear rhetoric coincides with the delivery of Western weapons to Ukraine. They suggested that Russia aims to deter Western nations from providing further military support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and to intimidate Western officials.

However, ISW also believes that it is unlikely Russia will employ tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine or elsewhere.

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