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Ukraine: what is the tactical nuclear weapon, this option for Putin, particularly feared?

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After the hard blow of the sinking of the Russian cruiser Moskva, Russian reprisals are feared. This event could mark a new turning point in the conflict and the option of using tactical nuclear weapons is increasingly mentioned.

After the sinking of the Moskva, a new escalation in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is feared. While Russian television is already talking about a “third world war”, experts are trying to anticipate Vladimir Putin’s reactions.

One option seems particularly dreaded, that of resorting to tactical nuclear weapons. Unlike a so-called strategic nuclear weapon, the “tactical” has a lighter explosive charge.

Fear of Putin’s “desperation”

This distinction would therefore make it usable for targeted strikes, and its use could intervene on a battlefield for example. This weapon is carried by a vector having a range of less than 5,500 kmindicates TF1.

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This possibility, which had already been raised at the start of the conflict, seems particularly feared in the context of the current setback suffered by Russia after the loss of its emblematic cruiser. For the head of the CIA, William Burns, quoted by AFP, “it is possible that President Putin and the Russian leadership will sink into despair, given the setbacks they have suffered so far from a military point of view”, he explains without having seen any concrete signs of a worsening of the situation for the time being.

Demoralize the enemy

Pavel Luzin, an analyst at the Moscow-based think tank Riddle, also interviewed by AFP, believes that the use of tactical nuclear weapons is a way of “demoralizing” the adversary.

Still, its use could prove devastating since the use of nuclear weapons has never taken place since August 9, 1945, the date of the bombing of Nagasaki.

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