LFed up with a conflict that is probably longer and more costly than expected, would Vladimir Putin consider ending it with one or more atomic strikes? This is what the CIA seems to fear, as evidenced by a statement by its chief, William Burns. “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 said Thursday, April 14.
A desperation that could push them to commit the irreparable? “None of us can take lightly the threat posed by the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or low-power nuclear weapons,” admitted William Burns. If the Kremlin has already mentioned putting its nuclear forces on alert, “we have not really seen any concrete signs such as deployments or military measures which could aggravate our concerns”, added the head of the main security agency. US intelligence, speaking to students at Georgia Tech University.
Few real risks
“Obviously we are very worried. I know that President (Joe) Biden is deeply concerned about the risk of World War III and is doing everything to avoid getting to the point where nuclear conflict becomes possible,” he added.
Russia has many tactical nuclear weapons, less powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, in accordance with its “escalation-de-escalation” doctrine which would consist in first using a low-powered nuclear weapon to regain the advantage. in the event of a conventional conflict with the West. But this hypothesis implies that “NATO intervenes militarily on the ground in Ukraine during this conflict, and this is not something, as the president has made clear, that is planned”, he said. He underlines.
Recalling having been United States Ambassador to Moscow, Mr. Burns did not have words harsh enough for a “revengeful”, “stubborn” Vladimir Putin, who over the years has sunk into an “explosive mixture of grievances, of ambition and insecurity”. “Every day, Putin demonstrates that a declining power can be as destabilizing as a rising power,” he added.