Should we be scared of Putin's nuclear blackmail?
What will Putin do when it dawns on him that his scenarios aren’t doable, that he, so great and terrible, will lose the war?
And he will lose the war in Ukraine. After all, roughly speaking, Putin had hoped for a sort of Austrian Anschluss, with flowers, tears, and cheers from the "Russian world’s” ecstatic supporters. The plan did not pan out anywhere in Ukraine.
Putin is preparing for a new war
Conscious of his failings and realizing the need to maintain power in Russia, what will Putin do? The nuclear topic is not a minor thing. The Russians keep putting it forward to talk about worldwide. And even when they reportedly deny the possibility of using tactical weapons, they make it clear they can actually do it if "there’s a threat to Russia."
What is a threat to Russia? The very existence of Ukraine’s statehood is being deemed a threat to Russia in the Kremlin’s eyes. And there are calls to destroy it, as Dmitry Rogozin, formerly in charge of Roscosmos, recently did – to the general approval of the Russian political elite and Putin.
Declaring the occupied Ukrainian territories part of Russia – something Putin’s regime is heading toward by preparing miserable, totally illegitimate "referendums" – should make Ukrainian resistance and de-occupation of these territories impossible in Moscow’s mind. Now, it would be a threat to Russia's existence and an "attack" on "its" part (in fact, stolen from Ukraine). Moscow is also halting U.S. inspections of its nuclear weapons while continuing the act of terrorism in the south of Ukraine, where Russian troops have seized the Zaporizhzhya atomic power plant, the largest in Europe. This makes the nuclear package in Putin's arsenal quite significant.
Is Putin ready to blow up a nuclear plant? Or will he keep the station hostage and use it to put pressure on the West so that the latter forces Ukrainians to capitulate, disarm, and walk in single file into an Olenivka like Russian concentration camp set up by the Putinists?
That is entirely in the spirit of Putin, who still thinks Ukrainians do not decide on or mean anything, while U.S. President Joe Biden can make them carry out a program of self-destruction for the sake of the rest of the planet or the part which Putin threatens to blow up and contaminate with radiation. Seizing a nuclear plant, destroying several energy transmission lines, and attempting to connect the plant to the Russian power grid have immensely increased the risks of a large-scale accident. What is absolutely certain is that Putin sincerely believes nuclear blackmail can be used to arm-wrestle the West into stopping military aid to Ukraine.
I suggest we start thinking logically. Let's consider the worst-case scenario, when the West is scared and has begun to fulfill Putin's conditions in the same way one fulfills the demands of the terrorists seizing a passenger liner. So tell me, will Ukraine’s catastrophe resolve the issue of nuclear safety under such a scenario? Or would it bring this same problem and danger closer to EU and NATO countries’ borders?
After all, Putin will have his hands not on one reactor but four (!). That means fifteen operating nuclear reactor with a total installed capacity of 13,835 MW plus the stopped Chornobyl NPPand spent nuclear fuel storage facilities. What considerable potential for strengthening the empire and nuclear blackmail of the West! You probably think the Russians would be stopped by border signs with countries' names on them and several thousand NATO soldiers stationed in the Baltic states. But where does this confidence of yours come from? Maybe it's just an honest belief in good things and childlike optimism.
Yet we must see the state of things without rose-coloured glasses. I think NATO is not ready for a war in Europe, or the Alliance might need time to prepare. Transferring howitzers piecemeal to Ukraine to deter such a powerful enemy can be explained not only by the reluctance to "increase the degree of conflict" but because, like the other weapons, the howitzers are worth their weight in gold in NATO countries themselves. They’ve been preparing for peace, not war, for years.
Do you think Putin doesn't know this? Didn’t he enjoy watching the political battles over theallies’ attempt to reach the 2% defense spending guideline? Remember that the Russian dictator demanded that NATO "roll back" to its 1997 borders, i.e., by disarming (demilitarizing) countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, and others. Do you know what’s going to happen after disarmament? "Denazification" and "liberation" the Russian way, with millions of refugees abandoning everything they owned: houses, apartments, cars, businesses, and jobs; just to save their lives.
Therefore, the idea of ending support for Ukraine and giving up to Putin not only a considerable part of all the world's grain (which can be used to govern the planet’s food balance and tools to blackmail with hunger) but also four more nuclear plants is not a good idea. Evil must be stopped and not allowed to increase, absorb, and digest everything in its path, including grain fields, captured territories, uranium mines, and nuclear plants.
And if someone in the West thinks Putin won’t ever do to them what he did to Ukrainians, I can only say one thing: you’re being very naive.