The following article from a Russian Telegram Channel called “Volya”, which is roughly translated as “Free Will” says that there are serious discussions in Putin’s inner circle about the use of “tactical” nuclear weapons. This channel was created at the beginning of the war and utilizes news, reports and lengthier investigative articles such as this one. There were several similar ones established at the beginning of the war by journalists who lost their jobs but want to continue to publish, although now it must be done anonymously. Therefore, we cannot vouch for the accuracy of this report, but it is important enough and also seems to fit with the claims of Boris Bondaev, who just resigned from a high diplomatic post in the Putin administration.
Some will say, “if this is a realistic possibility, then the US (and other allies) should stop this war now.” What they mean by that is leave Ukraine in the lurch and allow Putin to annex as much of Ukraine as he likes. While the more militarist wing of the US capitalists strategists, such as the NY Times’ Thomas Friedman, agree with this, it is an extremely short sighted approach, even from its own point of view. Even if Putin is only limited to what his forces already occupy, that won’t be the end of it. After a time, imperial Russia will move again to seize more and move on to Moldova and who knows where else.With these points in mind, here is the article:
Russian missile launchers «Iskander» with tactical nuclear charges are concentrated in the Kaliningrad region and in the border areas with Ukraine. The Russian Black Sea Fleet also has tactical nuclear warheads.
“The use of tactical nuclear weapons was discussed at several meetings in early and mid-March. The people responsible have received an order to prepare a report about the most promising targets in the enemy’s territory and about possible targets of a retaliatory strike in the territory of the Russian Federation”, – says our source in the Ministry of Defense of Russia.
According to him, by mid-April, a list of 11 targets on the territory of Ukraine, three on the territory of Poland and two on the territory of Romania was formed.
“The list was adjusted downwards. Romania was excluded from it altogether, as far as I understand, the very possibility of such an attack was expressed to the Romanians and it was enough that they began to let several of our military planes to the TMR (Transnistrian Moldovan Republic) pass through their airspace. This made it possible to strengthen our group in the region”, explains a source in the Ministry of Defense.
Our colleague, who is in Romania, confirmed that almost every day four or five Russian military aircraft have been passing through the country’s airspace for several weeks.
According to a source in the Ministry of Defense, as well as another source associated with the Strategic Missile Forces, today the list of Russian targets looks like this:
- Kyiv (the government complex);
- Poltava (an important transport hub, the destruction of which will lead to a serious disruption of the supply of weapons and aid to the Kharkiv and Lugansk regions);
- Ivano-Frankivsk (one of the main bases of the Ukrainian Air Force and training centers of the new units of the AFU);
- Lviv Oblast (Yavoriv polygon, which is now a logistics center for the delivery of weapons, military and humanitarian aid).
- Rzeszów (the city that became the logistics hub for the delivery of military and humanitarian aid from Europe and the USA to Ukraine).
Other targets, according to our sources, are not considered, but it should be taken into account that they may not have all the information.
Under what circumstances a tactical nuclear strike may be launched?
According to our military sources, tactical nuclear weapons can be used if several factors coincide.
“The main deterrent factor now is the response. And the question is not where it will be applied, but whether there will be a response at all. Our political leadership is confident that the EU and the US will not respond to our attack. With great difficulty we managed to convince them that it is impossible to rely on intuition, we need precise information” – says a source in the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.
The arguments given by the «political leadership», according to our source, looked more emotional than rational.
“According to Patrushev and, as I understand, Putin, Europe and the US do not need a big war with Russia, so they will not answer. And they do not have strong leaders who are willing to take responsibility for a nuclear retaliatory strike. Those are wild statements even for a TV show, but for a high-profile meeting – it’s just unspeakable! Where did you get it from that they won’t go to war, that there are no strong leaders? No argument has worked until we were able to convince that we need to get intelligence and analysis on the mood of the political and military elites. It’s given us a delay, and the information is being gathered slowly. But another problem is that our own leadership (Sergey Naryshkin) is afraid to say something contrary to the will of the supreme. How long will it be possible to balance and persuade, I do not know”, – says an officer of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation.
So the key factor is knowing whether or not there will be retaliation. Another factor: a tactical nuclear strike should give a decisive advantage at a particular moment. For example, at the start of a large-scale offensive, a strike on Kyivv takes out the leadership of Ukraine or, more likely, destroys only part of the leadership, but it brings chaos to the decision-making system. Or the attack on the Yavoriv military range and other targets in Ukraine and Rzeszów in Poland, inflicted during the offensive, will disrupt the supply of the defending troops and will break down the resistance.
During the discussion of the offensive in the south from we’ve heard from Gerasimov (Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation) that the troops will receive powerful support with some high-tech attacks on the rear objects of the enemy. Everyone then clearly understood what he was talking about tactical nuclear strikes», says the Russian army senior officer.
Other Russian officers who have agreed to speak on this topic believe that tactical strikes can be effective only if they are massive. That means aimed at several targets at once. But it is feared that this will lead to a rapid retaliation not against Russian territory, but against Russian troops in Ukraine.
“It sounds beautiful if we fuck up Kyiv and other cities, but if in return here we get covered with artillery with nuclear charges, there will be no one to lead the offensive. And such projectiles don’t take long to be delivered. Maybe they are already here. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are already using NATO artillery, which can use such shelling for an attack”, – the doubts of the benefit of nuclear strikes expressed by a Russian senior officer fighting in the south of Ukraine.
The general opinion looks like this: there can be a tactical nuclear strike or multiple strikes only if there is a 100% guarantee that there will be no retaliation. No one can guarantee that.
According to the NATO military expert, who previously headed one of the departments of strategic operations planning, the leadership of the Alliance has already discussed the response steps in the case of the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia.
“The response will happen, and it will be quick. I do not know the targets, but the decision to strike back is already made. It must be proportionate to or exceeding the first strike. But it must be applied on military targets. Not on cities, but on troops in the territories of Russia and Ukraine. Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, long-range warning systems and radar systems are being constantly monitored to prevent the conflict from escalating into the use of intercontinental ballistic missiles. This work is being carried out quite openly so that the Russian leadership has no doubts in the very clear prospects of a possible strategic arms retaliatory strike», – says the expert from NATO.
His words found unexpected confirmation thanks to the monitoring service flightradar24.com. On May 19, we discovered an American reconnaissance aircraft RC-135W Rivet Joint flying over the territory of the Russian Federation in the area of Kanin Nose Point in the Nenets Autonomous District. There are long-range monitoring stations for intercontinental ballistic missiles, radar systems and the Shayna Strategic Missile Forces. An American reconnaissance plane activated a transponder directly above the Russian territory. It is quite possible that this was done to convey that hint to the Russian leadership.
Reconnaissance aircraft RC-135
Both Russian and European sources refuse to directly state the objectives of the retaliatory strike. It is only said that there is a high probability that these will be military facilities, including those from which the first strike will be launched. Therefore, under threat, purely theoretically, are currently Crimea, Kaliningrad, Belgorod, Kursk, Bryansk, Rostov Oblast and Krasnodar Territory.
Projected number of victims of Russian tactical nuclear strikes
This is no more than a crude projection based on the population of what our sources have called potential targets. In addition, we do not know exactly what kind of warhead power can be used. So we arejust providing the population figures.
Who does the decision to use tactical nuclear weapons depend on?
Vladimir Putin and his inner circle. The order to use nuclear weapons is given by the Supreme Commander, whom Putin has been for years.
According to our sources close to his entourage, Putin may be prompt to use tactical nuclear weapons in case of a series of military failures and the risk of losing the Ukrainian campaign.
“For him, defeat is tantamount to loss of face and death. He and the people in his inner circle are most afraid that the patriotism that is being instilled in the country will turn into discontent against them. And there is talk of nuclear weapons, too, in the sense that if that happens, the population will have no choice. Even those who doubt the special operation and all patriotic rhetoric will be forced to fight to the end because Russia will turn from an aggressor into a murderous country, and then not only Putin but the country as a whole will have to be fought against. For our president and his entourage – such a turn may at some point become vital”, explains a man from Sergei Chemezov’s entourage who has information about what is happening around Vladimir Putin.