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War in Ukraine: Can Vladimir Putin set off the atomic bomb alone?


The Russian president announced on Sunday, February 27, to put the nuclear “deterrent force” on alert. But, the triggering of this weapon remains for the time being, easier said than done.

“I order the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff to put the Russian army’s deterrent forces on special combat alert,” Putin said in an interview with his colleagues. military leaders broadcast on television. “Forms of deterrence” including nuclear weapons.

Two key men

Even if he wanted to, the Russian president could not activate nuclear weapons without the approval of the two most important men in his military hierarchy: the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff.

“It’s understood,” agreed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who was quick to inform his troops, as indicated by TACC, a Russian news agency.

For his part, General Guérassimov, who initiated the strategy to invade Ukraine, does not necessarily seem to share this desire to press the “red button”.

According to him, “the rules of war have changed. (…) Non-military means can prove to be more effective than the use of force and serve strategic objectives”.

THREATS taken lightly?

Monday, February 28, the day after Vladimir Putin’s decision to put Moscow’s “deterrent forces” on alert, many countries have played down the hypothesis that the head of the Kremlin could pass the course.

In Washington, Joe Biden has said he is not worried about a possible nuclear war, while in London, it is believed that Vladimir Putin is only trying to divert attention from the fierce resistance delivered on the ground to Russian troops.

Russia is today the country with the most nuclear warheads, 6,255 in total. Followed by the United States (5,550) and China (350). France has 290.