Ukraine: Ex-RAF chief says use of nuclear weapons is possible
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Speaking to Express.co.uk, Harry Kazianis, an analyst at the Centre for National Interest and an expert on U.S. foreign policy and national security challenges, outlined four key ways that the current crisis in Ukraine could escalate. The first scenario involved Russian missiles accidentally landing in NATO territory, which Mr Kazianis described as “the easiest path towards escalation”.
Mr Kazianis also said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is a “focal point” of the war, claiming that the conflict is likely to escalate should something happen to him.
According to the expert, the death of either American or British civilians, or Western special operations forces would also lead to an escalation.
However, he said that there are “probably a hundred” different scenarios that could lead towards nuclear destruction.
Speaking about possible circumstances that could lead to a nuclear escalation, Mr Kazianis said: “There are a few ways that this could happen and they’re not hard to dream up.
“Those Russian cruise missiles that hit the NATO base – of the 36 missiles that they fired, only eight hit their target.
“Just imagine a scenario where one of those errant missiles goes into Poland – Poland is very nationalistic.
“They would be very very upset that those missiles hit their territory, even if they just hit a field, that would be an article 5 violation. So just that alone.
“I mean a lot of these staging areas from different members of the US intelligence committee – they’re not exactly telling me where they are but they have explained that almost all of them are close to the Polish border, close to the Romanian border.
“God forbid one of those Russian missiles misses its target and goes into NATO.
“What does NATO do? That is the easiest path towards escalation.
Mr Kazianis continued: “If something happens to Volodymyr Zelensky, people are going to be screaming for NATO intervention.
“So he is really a big focal point of this whole thing and I don’t think people realise that if something were to happen to him, all hell breaks loose to be honest.
“I think if you see more Americans of British or innocent civilians killed, I think that could be another pathway.
“If US special forces – or any NATO special operations forces are operating clandestinely in Ukraine and they get caught or captured or killed bringing in weapons, or trying to help the Ukrainians in ways we don’t know about – history shows that happens – that could be another pathway.”
He concluded: “To be honest, there are so many different paths to nuclear war.
“There are probably a hundred of them.”
In February, less than a week after Putin declared war on Ukraine, the President put Russia’s nuclear deterrence forces on high alert.
In televised comments, Putin accused NATO of “aggressive statements”.
He said: “Senior officials of the leading Nato countries also allow aggressive statements against our country, therefore I order the minister of defence and the chief of the general staff [of the Russian armed forces] to transfer the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty.”
“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading Nato members made aggressive statements regarding our country.”
The US described the escalation as “totally unacceptable”.
There are also fears that Russia could use tactical nuclear weapons – smaller nuclear weapons which can be used over relatively short distances.
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