Putin news: What will happen if Russia uses nuclear weapons?

Ukraine: Russian forces 'dying on a large scale' says Wallace

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The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought the prospect of nuclear war to the forefront of many people’s minds. While still unlikely, Russia has one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world – and the brazen Vladimir Putin has shown he is willing to go almost any length to get his way in Ukraine.

What would make Putin use nuclear weapons?

It’s clear that Russia will take the bloody and uncivilised option when getting what it wants.

The war in Ukraine is not going to plan – President Putin believed the Ukrainian Government would collapse easily and there wouldn’t be such heavy losses on Russia’s side.

Putin therefore elevated the invasion, using missiles and mortars against civilians and in major cities in an attempt to drive out Ukrainian forces and take entire cities, such as Kherson.

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But the threshold on which the Russian President will escalate the conflict into a nuclear one is unpredictable, according to military scholars and experts, but it’s highly likely it will hinge on NATO involvement.

It’s highly unlikely a nuclear threat could materialise if cracks in the Western coalition begin to show, and if Russia’s Ukraine campaign goes smoothly from here on out, there’d be no need for a nuclear option.

But if there was significant opposition to the war in Russia, Ukraine continues to see off Russian forces, and NATO maintains its unity over the issue, it could press President Putin to the nuclear option.

Or, if NATO switches and decides to send troops into Ukraine – or continues to supply the country with arms and machines of war – President Putin could find himself backed into a corner.

Is Russia preparing for nuclear war?

Despite Mr Putin’s talk about putting his nuclear forces on alert last week, so far there is no evidence that it has taken its tactical nukes out of storage and moved them to their delivery vehicles, according to Olga Oliker, a Russia expert and director of the Europe and Central Asia Program at the International Crisis Group.

Ms Oliker said: ”If I see Russia moving its nuclear weapons in a way that suggests they’re planning a strike on something, I will worry very very much.

“We should be very reassured by the fact that there is no evidence that Russia has changed anything about its alert status.”

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What damage can a nuclear bomb do?

The end of World War 2 heralded two only two nuclear bombs dropped on civilian areas – Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A nuclear explosion reaches a temperature of several million degrees centigrade, and causes an unbelievable amount of damage.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament explained: “Over a wide area, the resulting heat flash literally vaporises all human tissue.

“People inside buildings or otherwise shielded will be indirectly killed by the blast and heat effects, as buildings collapse and all inflammable materials burst into flames.

“Those in underground shelters who survive the initial heat flash will die as all the oxygen is sucked out of the atmosphere.

“Outside the area of total destruction, there will be a gradually increasing percentage of immediate survivors.

“However most of these will suffer from fatal burns, will be blinded, bleeding and suffering massive internal injuries.

“Survivors will be affected within a matter of days by radioactive fall-out.”

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