US fears Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons if Russia remains stuck in Ukraine
US intelligence officials believe Vladimir Putin may be threatening to release more and more of Russia’s nuclear arsenal as Ukraine’s defense forces continue to thwart his invasion of their country.
Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, revealed the concerns in a new global threat report dated March 15 and obtained by Fox News on Thursday.
“As this war and its aftermath slowly weaken Russia’s conventional strength, Russia will likely rely increasingly on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project its strength to its internal and external audiences,” he said. he writes.
US officials believe Putin intends to “overthrow the post-Cold War rules-based international order led by the United States” and reclaim former Soviet territories.
“Russia views a powerful and resilient nuclear force as the foundation of its national security, and its modernized general-purpose forces are essential to confronting any conventional military threat and projecting Russian power abroad,” Berrier wrote.
Additionally, Russian forces are using “indiscriminate attack methods” that raze towns, kill civilians and damage infrastructure in retaliation for Ukraine’s effective resistance, according to the report.
The DIA also questioned Putin’s credibility over his claims that he had “modernized” the Russian military.
“Russia’s modernization aims to ensure that Russia can deploy a military capable of engaging across the full spectrum of warfare to deter or defeat a wide range of threats, but the early setbacks in Ukraine challenge part of the Putin’s story,” Berrier wrote.
At the same time, Russia claims to have upgraded more than 85% of its nuclear weapons and is working to develop missiles capable of circumventing Western defenses to “ensure that Russia can credibly inflict unacceptable damage to the West”.