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Avoiding the use of nukes in Ukrainian crisis

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If Russia wages a nuclear war , this is likely to bring the United States in picture. Russia and the US together account for about 90 per cent of the world's nuclear arsenals today.

In a recently televised address, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Moscow could use nuclear weapons in the current Ukrainian war. He has said Russia has "different types of weapons" and some of them are "more modern" than what the NATO countries have.

Avoiding the use of nukes in Ukrainian crisis

Observers say President Putin's words need to be taken seriously. The very presence of nuclear weapons can be fatal. They can be used by not only design but accident as well. As early as on February 27, soon after he ordered his 'special military operation' in Ukraine this year, Putin put his nuclear forces on high alert. On March 1, he sortied his ballistic missile submarines and land-based mobile missile launchers in what was called a 'drill'.

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Given the disastrous implications of the use of nuclear weapons, any recourse to it must be avoided in modern times. During a face-to-face meeting with President Putin, on the side-lines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) last month, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi rightly advised him that "today's era is not of war" and we all hence must "move onto a path of peace... diplomacy and dialogue".

If Russia wages a nuclear war , this is likely to bring the United States in picture. The results thereof are sure to be catastrophic. Russia and the United States together account for about 90 per cent of the world's nuclear arsenals today. Russia has over 5,977 nuclear warheads for its strategic forces and the US 5,428. Each warhead is far more powerful than the bombs the Unites States had dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

Moscow and Washington need to refrain from using their tactical nuclear weapons as well. These weapons are designed for battlefield use and have a lower yield. They include bombs, artillery ordnance or warheads for short-range missiles. These tactical nuclear weapon strikes would not have the consequences on the scale a strategic warhead attack would have. But even a low-yield nuclear weapon used on the battlefield would not only be killing troops in the vicinity but also contaminating a broad area and exposing large numbers of civilians to radiation risks.

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Pertinently, referring to the nuclear threat President Putin has made, United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has recently told NBC's "Meet the Press" (September 25) that "If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia... The United States will respond decisively."

(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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