A former top US State Department official Tuesday said Russia could use nuclear weapons in Ukraine after sustaining some heavy losses over the past day or two in its war with Ukraine.
I fear that they may now attack in a very unpredictable way and may also involve weapons of mass destruction, Former NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoelle told the BBC.
In her view, Moscow could either order a demonstration nuclear strike with a single strike in the Black Sea or perhaps with an attack on a Ukrainian military structure, in order to strike terror not only in the hearts of Ukrainians, but also in the hearts of Ukraine's global partners and allies, Gottemoelle argued.
Losses on the battlefield in Ukraine could persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear weapons, to avoid an encore of this week's defeats, and with British Prime Minister Liz Truss in office, who had already said in her campaign that she would press the button if necessary.
Gottemoeller praised Kyiv's achievements in their counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region but feared it might spur Putin's response to unprecedented levels.
The US politician told BBC radio that watching how Putin and his coterie have been behaving during this crisis, she feared that, they will strike back now in really unpredictable ways that may even involve weapons of mass destruction. When asked if she meant a nuclear strike of some kind Gottemoeller replied, yes.
Gottemoeller, 69, is an American diplomat who served as Deputy Secretary General of NATO from October 2016 to October 2019 under Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. She previously served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security at the US State Department.