Ukraine’s defense chief Reznikov skeptical about Moscow’s nuke threats

6 October 2022, 07:25 PM
Олексій Резніков (Photo:REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen)

Олексій Резніков (Photo:REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen)

Nobody knows currently in what condition Russian nuclear weapons are and how they will work in case of use, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told Forbes Ukraine on Oct. 6, noting that the last time Moscow conducted tests was in the 1990s.

According to the Ukrainian official, the state of nuclear weapons in Russia is quite questionable. Reznikov cited data from the second president of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma, who claimed that the term of validity of all nuclear capabilities, including Russia’s, expired in 1997. Therefore, the use of such weapons "will have unpredictable consequences".

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"When was the last time the Russians conducted a nuclear test?” he wondered.

“In the ‘90s, in Kazakhstan at an appropriate test site. That is, since the ‘90s, they have not conducted any tests, they have carriers, they have nuclear stocks, but no one knows how they are activated, how they fly and work, including them.”

Reznikov doubts that if Moscow does resort to nuclear weapons against Ukraine, it will be on the front line as there are their troops there, and the territories captured by Russians are nearby. Also, according to the Minister, it is unlikely to be a point in the Black Sea, as there are three nearby NATO member states: Bulgaria, Turkey, and Romania.

"That is, where to target? What is the point?" he said.

Reznikov believes that by threatening a nuclear strike, the Kremlin probably just wants to scare Ukraine. At the same time, the Defense Minister stressed that the risk remains, and it is unwise to rule it out.

"But if we estimate in percentage terms the probability of its [nuclear weapons] use, it is much lower than anything else,” he added.

“And this is confirmed by our partners, including the United States and the United Kingdom.”

Earlier, Ukrainian intelligence stated that they consider the threat of Russia's use of tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine "very high". At the same time, according to the head of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine Kyrylo Budanov, Russia will not launch a nuclear strike in the near future.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov previously stated that there is a risk of Russia's use of tactical nuclear weapons, but their quality and condition raise questions.

The United States has insisted that in case Russia uses nuclear weapons against Ukraine, Washington and its allies will respond decisively. The White House also warned the Kremlin of "catastrophic consequences".

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, after announcing mobilization in Russia on Sept. 21, once again threatened Western countries with the use of nuclear weapons, saying that "this is not a bluff".

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