(National Sentinel) Foreign Policy: A Russian lawmaker has suggested that his country would use nuclear weapons to repel and invasion by U.S. and NATO forces to retake Russia-occupied Crimea for Ukraine.
As reported by Breitbart News, the member of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov, made his comments during a security forum in Slovakia on Sunday.
“On the issue of NATO expansion on our borders, at some point I heard from the Russian military – and I think they are right – if U.S. forces, NATO forces, are, were, in the Crimea, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is undefendable militarily in case of conflict without using nuclear weapons in the early stage of the conflict,” said parliamentarian Vyacheslav Alekseyevich Nikonov, as quoted by Defense One.
He also said Russian military leaders have “discussed Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons” with their counterparts in NATO, during the course of “broader and increasingly contentious conversations about the alliance’s expansion.”
Defense One correspondent Patrick Tucker noted in his piece that the parliamentarian’s comments were right in line with those of the military doctrine laid out by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which calls for limited use of nuclear weapons to repel “large-scale aggression utilizing conventional weapons in situations critical to the national security of the Russian Federation.”
This is not mere hyperbole. Newsweek notes out that it is actually written down in the official Military Doctrine of Russia.
Experts disagree over what Moscow would consider a situation dire enough to actually utilize nukes in combat, taking into account what first-use of nuclear weapons by Russia would bring in response.
Still, the Russians view NATO expansion as a threat, and while many analysts today think that is unjustified, that view does not differ from that of the former Soviet Union, which believed that its own Warsaw Pact expansion was a necessary strategy to protect its borders from invasion.
In other words, Putin, who is a product of that era, absolutely believes that U.S./NATO expansion into Russia’s traditional zone of influence is a threat worth defending against. And really, how does that differ from the United States’ and NATO’s reaction to Putin’s actions in eastern Ukraine and Crimea?
The only difference is that when the USSR broke up, the U.S. and the Russian Federation struck a deal to remove former Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine, which that nation’s new government agreed to on the condition that it would be defended against invasion.
Both the U.S. and Russia, as well as the other parties to the agreement including Great Britain, failed to live up to their agreement – Russia by invading, and the U.S. by failing to defend or at least arm Ukraine for its own defense.