Copyright © 2024

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

FT: Leaked Russian military documents show lower threshold for use of nuclear weapons than Putin claims

However, the nuclear threshold may be higher regarding Ukraine, according to William Alberque, the director of strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
nuclear exercises 2022
Russia nuclear exercises amid heightened rhetoric over when the weapons could be used in October 2022. Credit: Russian Defence Ministry
FT: Leaked Russian military documents show lower threshold for use of nuclear weapons than Putin claims

Recently leaked Russian military documents reveal a lower threshold for the use of nuclear weapons than what has been publicly stated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Financial Times (FT) reported on 28 February, reviewing 29 classified files.

Since the start of the full-scale war against Ukraine, Putin has frequently threatened the use of nuclear weapons. In October 2023, he said that Russian military doctrine has two reasons for using nuclear weapons: a response to the use of such weapons by the enemy or a threat to the existence of the Russian state.

The documents, dated between 2008 and 2014 and deemed relevant to current Russian military doctrine by experts, outline several conditions that could trigger the use of nuclear arms.

“Among other possible conditions is the destruction of 20% of Russian ballistic missile submarines, 30% of nuclear attack submarines, three or more cruisers, three airfields, or a simultaneous attack on the main and backup shore command centers,” the FT reported.

The files also list stopping an “enemy invasion” of Russia, defeating army formations deployed on the border, or an impending attack using conventional weapons as reasons for a nuclear strike.

“These documents show that Russia’s threshold for nuclear use is rather low, if Russia cannot achieve its goals with conventional means,” Alexander Gabuev, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the FT.

However, regarding Ukraine specifically, the nuclear threshold may be higher since Ukraine lacks nuclear capabilities or the ability to mount a large-scale invasion, the director of strategy, technology, and arms control at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, William Alberque, said.

The FT also reported that Russia continues to conduct military exercises. In particular, Russia held exercises using nuclear-capable missiles in June and November 2023 in regions bordering China.

Read also:

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Will the West continue to support Ukraine?
    • Know what moves the world.
    • Premium journalism from across Europe.
    • Tailored to your needs, translated into English.
    Special discount
    for Euromaidan Press readers
    Euromaidan Press

    We are an independent media outlet that relies solely on advertising revenue to sustain itself. We do not endorse or promote any products or services for financial gain. Therefore, we kindly ask for your support by disabling your ad blocker. Your assistance helps us continue providing quality content. Thank you!

    Related Posts