Putin's Nuclear Option: Western Warning of Potential 'Extremely Painful' Strike

Former diplomat discusses Russia's geopolitical strategies amid conflict

by Zain ul Abedin
Putin's Nuclear Option: Western Warning of Potential 'Extremely Painful' Strike
© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In an era of escalating tensions, the spectre of nuclear warfare has resurfaced, casting a shadow over international relations. Frank G. Wisner, a former US ambassador under Bill Clinton, has issued a stark warning: the use of nuclear weapons by Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot be ruled out" as the conflict with Ukraine intensifies, bringing Moscow and the West closer to a confrontation.

Wisner described Putin as a "reckless" leader whose actions, especially during the Ukraine invasion, have heightened global anxieties. He criticized the Russian leader for leveraging nuclear threats to bolster his military campaign against Ukraine, highlighting the severe limitations in Russian military capacity while acknowledging the potential for escalation using unconventional means.

"The scenario of Putin resorting to nuclear options is plausible, given the current trajectory of the conflict," Wisner stated during an interview with The Sun. He reflected on the catastrophic implications of even limited nuclear warfare, emphasizing the immense pain it would inflict not only on Russia but also on the global community.

Putin's Dual Strategy

Wisner also touched on the internal signals Putin might be sending within Russia, portraying his readiness to confront Western powers to the extent of nuclear engagement. This strategy serves dual purposes: reinforcing domestic support through heightened nationalism and cautioning the West about the limits of its support for Ukraine.

Furthermore, Wisner speculated on the potential swift resolution of the conflict if Western backing were to wane. "The war in Ukraine could end within six months if support from the West diminishes," he suggested, highlighting the dire consequences of reduced assistance.

Amid these discussions, concerns are also rising in Ukraine regarding the upcoming U.S. election and Donald Trump's stance on the conflict, given his reluctance to support Kyiv unequivocally. Meanwhile, the U.S. legislative process has recently advanced, with the House of Representatives passing a substantial $60 billion aid package for Ukraine after considerable delays caused by opposition from several Republican lawmakers.

As global leaders and diplomats navigate these treacherous waters, balancing power and strategic diplomacy remain crucial in averting a potential catastrophe.