Putin is likely to be killed by his own allies before he has the chance to launch a nuclear attack, an expert says. Tensions are rising as Moscow today launched mock referendums that will likely see large parts of Ukraine annexed by Russia. Putin and his allies have made a series of thinly veiled threats against Ukraine and the West, saying they may use nuclear weapons to defend illegally annexed territories.
However, experts claimed that Putin was bluffing or misunderstanding the situation at his peril.
Professor Peter Duncan of the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES) told Express.co.uk that Putin was ‘isolated from reality’ and would likely be killed before he could pull the nuclear trigger .
Putin has made a series of mistakes since he launched his invasion of Ukraine. He underestimated the will to resist of the Ukrainian people and the determination of NATO. Now he has called for an unpopular mobilization that could threaten his position at home.
Professor Duncan said: “The bottom line is that Putin is insulated from reality. He just doesn’t understand Russia, or what people think in Russia, or what people think abroad, that’s all. that is to say everywhere. And that is why he makes mistake after mistake.”
Part of this, according to Professor Duncan, is that the security services and Putin’s allies are afraid of him, leading them to mislead him about the realities on the ground in Ukraine.
He said: “It’s always that old problem that people are afraid to tell him the truth. In particular, the FSB is afraid to tell him the truth, so he just doesn’t know what’s going on.”
However, if Professor Duncan is wrong and Putin’s allies follow him into the abyss of nuclear war, he expects a vigorous response from Ukraine’s Western allies.
He believes the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine would trigger a “massive conventional attack on Russian forces” in the Black Sea region or Ukraine.
The situation could then spiral out of control as NATO and nuclear-armed Russia would effectively be at war. However, Putin would likely refrain from using nuclear weapons against Western forces or cities for fear of a “tremendous countervailing attack” from NATO.
The past few days have seen the rhetoric surrounding Russia’s nuclear weapons turn into thinly veiled, if not outright, threats.
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Yesterday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev threatened to use Russia’s “strategic nuclear deterrent” to defend territory that is set to be illegally annexed to Russia in the coming days.
Earlier this week, Putin promised to use “every means at our disposal to protect Russia”. He added: “It’s not a bluff.”
However, the referendums taking place in southern and eastern Ukraine are unlikely to dissuade Kyiv or its Western allies from opposing Putin’s aggression.
Time will tell how the Kremlin, and principally Putin himself, reacts to Ukraine’s continued counter-offensive on what Moscow will say is Russian territory, but what the West, and most of the world, considers stolen Ukrainian land.