Vladimir Putin has repeatedly issued veiled nuclear threats to Western countries in a bid to stop them from intervening in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Despite words of intimidation, western countries have nonetheless kept supplying Ukraine with additional weapons to protect itself against Russia’s offensives. But another threat could be nuclear proliferation, warns Fiona Hill, a former senior director for Europe and Russia at the US National Security Council, who lashed out at Putin’s “nuclear blackmail”.
Speaking to The Backstory with Andrew Neil podcast, Ms Hill warned: “He’s gone down the path of Kim Jong-Un.
“If you don’t do what I want, I’m going to blow you up. I’m going to put my finger on the button and send a missile.
“I’m going to use a tactical battlefield nuke so you will surrender, so you will step back. “
According to Ms Hill, that kind of nuclear intimidation could sow fear and entice some countries to develop nuclear weapons.
“The message of everything that Putin is doing right now is: everyone needs a nuke, everyone needs a nuclear weapon.
“The big countries, obviously some of them already have them like China for example who wants to prevail over their neighbours and tamper with their own territorial and regional disputes.
“They can exert their will with the nuclear weapon.
“And he’s telling all these other countries that want self-protection: through this action Ukraine, you need a nuclear weapon to protect yourself just like you have that stalemate between India and Pakistan and other regional rivalries.”
“Because Ukraine once had a nuclear weapon. So did Belarus and so did Kazakhstan.
“And they gave up that arsenal that they inherited from the clubs of the Soviet Union under pressure from the United States and the United Kingdom, because we didn’t want to see the proliferation of nukes, loose nukes – that we the whole mantra of the 1990s.
“And we promised Ukraine under the countries – we do this all the time – that if they don’t seek nuclear weapons, we can guarantee their territorial integrity and independence.
“After seeing what Putin is doing, they cannot be sure at all”, Fiona Hill concluded.”