Faced with superior NATO forces in the larger Baltic Sea region and the threat they pose in the first instance to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, Leonid Nersisyan, military observer for the Regnum news agency, says that Moscow is prepared to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear powers which now oppose it.
In the middle of a 2100-word article criticizing Baltic and Scandinavian countries for their opposition to Russia, Nersisyan has a section entitled “Limited Nuclear Conflict.” Clearly intended to intimidate and force the governments of these countries to change course, it merits attention as a statement of Russian thinking.
What is most striking about Nersisyan’s words is the casualness with which he discusses the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons and the distinction he makes between them and strategic weapons which he argues prevented the world from going to war in March 2014 at the time of the Russian Anschluss of Crimea.
Here are the Regnum commentator’s comments on this point in full:
“Limited Nuclear Conflict
“Is the scenario of such a major European war given the large arsenals of strategic and tactic nuclear arms on the two sides real? If the main ‘battlefield’ will become those Baltic states, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Finland and Norway – that is non-nuclear states – then it is real. Nuclear strikes will not be inflicted on states which have nuclear weapons.
“Nevertheless, in such a situation, there is little doubt that tactical nuclear weapons would be used – something especially important for us [Russians] since the numbers of the NATO armies exceed ours by several times over by all measures. As a result, in such a war, those countries which now most of all call for a struggle with Russia would be the losers in such a war.
“But there would not be any winners – both camps would suffer the loss of hundreds of thousands of destroyed soldiers and mountains of destroyed military equipment.
“Nevertheless, as history shows, humanity cannot long exist without wars – and there haven’t been major ones in Europe since 1945. How many more years will nuclear weapons be able to contain aggression and hatred? It is clear that war would have broken out in Europe already in March 2014 if there had not been this restraining factor.”