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ISW: Putin implies Ukrainian strikes not crossing Russia’s nuclear “red line”

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has indicated that Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory with Western-provided weapons do not cross a “red line” that would trigger Russian nuclear escalation, according to the ISW.
russian nuclear weapon
RT-2PM Topol. Credit: Militarnyi
ISW: Putin implies Ukrainian strikes not crossing Russia’s nuclear “red line”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory with Western-provided weapons do not cross a “red line” that would trigger Russian nuclear escalation, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The US-based Institute for Study of War reported on 6 June that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent statement suggests that Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory with Western-provided weapons do not cross a supposed Russian “red line” that would result in Russian nuclear escalation.

According to the ISW, Putin said that “Russia’s nuclear doctrine calls for Russia to only use nuclear weapons in the event of ‘exceptional cases’ of threats to Russia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Putin said that he does not think such an ‘exceptional’ case has arisen, so “there is no such need for Russia to use nuclear weapons.”

“Our nuclear doctrine calls for the use of nuclear weapons in exceptional cases – either as a response to an aggression committed against Russia and its allies… or as a response to the use of other weapons of mass destruction against Russia.”

“But in this case, we don’t see any need for that, there is no such need so far,” he said

The statement comes after Ukrainian forces struck military targets in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast near the Ukrainian border multiple times since early June 2024 using US-provided HIMARS missile systems and GMLRS munitions.

Putin and other Kremlin officials had threatened earlier nuclear escalation should Western nations permit Ukraine to conduct strikes inside Russia with Western-supplied weapons.

However, according to the ISW, “Western and Ukrainian policies and actions have crossed Russia’s supposed “red lines” several times throughout the war without drawing a significant Russian reaction, indicating that many of Russia’s “red lines” are most likely information operations designed to push the West to self-deter.”

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