Nuclear fears mount as Ukraine crisis deepens: Revelation 16

Nuclear fears mount as Ukraine crisis deepens – POLITICO

Another concern is that many of its military aircraft and missiles are also designed to carry both non-nuclear and nuclear weapons, a circumstance that could sow even more confusion during hostilities.

“It is very difficult for the West to know, ‘that conventional or nuclear,’ until it’s used,” the former nuclear official said, citing in particular air defense systems.

Nikolai Sokov, a former Russian Foreign Ministry official, said he considers the risk of a conflict over Ukraine spilling over into the nuclear arena as “extremely remote.”

But even he says it’s conceivable that one or both sides could dangerously miscalculate. For example, an accidental clash between Russian and NATO aircraft or warships, he said, “may trigger direct confrontation and then it could roll.”

For leading advocates of reducing nuclear arms, the Ukraine crisis highlights the hugely destabilizing role they play.

“What are nuclear weapons doing for us?” asked Tom Collina, director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund. “We only kind of think about them when we get into these crises, where really all they become is a liability.

“It’s hard to argue that nuclear weapons are adding to anybody’s security in this situation, but they seem to be the thing you can stumble into by mistake,” he added.

Also looming over the crisis is Russia’s history of using cyber-attacks as a key element of its military strategy, which could potentially disrupt or confuse nuclear command and control systems.

“It’s hard to argue that nuclear weapons are adding to anybody’s security in this situation, but they seem to be the thing you can stumble into by mistake.”

Tom Collina, director of policy at the Ploughshares Fund

Chris Painter, a former top government cyber official, warned this week of the risk of a nuclear escalation caused by a cyber attack impacting nuclear forces.

“We do know that Russia and other services are intent on intruding into U.S. systems,” he told an event hosted by the nonprofit Nuclear Threat Initiative. “Obviously, nuclear command and control would be a target they’d want to go after and get a foothold in. This is a really dangerous thing … if those systems are seen to be unreliable … that does have a real effect on deterrence. It’s hugely escalatory.”

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