Is Vladimir Putin really willing to use nuclear weapons? – podcast | News

Vladimir Putin stated in a speech on Friday that Russia had annexed four regions of Ukraine, gathering its top officials to listen to him. Not only did he set out how he would defend the annexed territories with the usual military might, but made alarming references to the precedent set by the US’s use of nuclear weapons against Japan in World War II.

The annexation of the four regions sends a signal that Putin is prepared to defend these highly contested areas as he would the rest of Russia – with nuclear weapons. But Russia’s position in the war currently appears weaker, with growing discontent among Russians over Putin’s attempts to mobilize another 300,000 soldiers from the population and amid Ukraine’s recent significant reconquest of territory.

As Andrew Roth tells Michael Safi, this less powerful position could provide the answer to why Putin chooses to ramp up nuclear rhetoric. But how seriously should we take his threat? And how will the West, Ukraine and the rest of the world react?

Archive: BBC, CBS, France 24, CNBC, pool clip, TVP World, TIME, Sky News, CNN, ABC, Today

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin makes gestures during a meeting with nuclear industry workers on their professional vacation, Day of the Nuclear Industrial Worker, at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Sept. 23, 2020. Putin's threats to use "all resources at our disposal" to defend his country while waging war in Ukraine have fueled global fears that he could use his nuclear arsenal, which contains the world's largest stockpile of nuclear warheads.  (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

Photo: Mikhail Metzel/AP

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