Putin raises spectre of nuclear war in Europe

President Putin has warned the US that its deployment of a new anti-missile network across Eastern Europe would prompt Russia to point its own missiles at European targets and could trigger nuclear war.

In an exclusive interview with The Times, the Russian leader says: “It is obvious that if part of the strategic nuclear potential of the US is located in Europe and will be threatening us, we will have to respond.

“This system of missile defence on one side and the absence of this system on the other . . . increases the possibility of unleashing a nuclear conflict.”

Russia has been alarmed at America’s plans to install a network of defences in Eastern Europe to shoot down incoming missiles it fears that Iran might launch

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Europe

14 comments on “Putin raises spectre of nuclear war in Europe

  1. KAR says:

    Oh boy, this takes me back to my childhood … not in a good way either!

  2. Reactionary says:

    US foreign policy towards Russia is extremely shortsighted. The Russians are the West’s natural allies against militant Islam and cultural Marxism. Unfortunately, US foreign policy is no longer under the control of Westerners.

  3. Tom Roberts says:

    Then explain the extensive sales of nuclear (arms?) technology and other military sales to Iran over the past decade and more. That Russian policy has been in place well before Putin or Bush took power.

  4. Newbie Anglican says:

    Putin is acting and sounding more and more like the old Soviet Union dictators. Very discouraging.

  5. Tom Roberts says:

    #4 That is the precise point of this diplomatic bluffing. The Russian government sees the Byelorussian and Ukrainian states as historical transients which will be reabsorbed into Russia again, perhaps within a decade. At that point the natural Russian sphere of influence would include Eastern Europe again. Permanent US installations of any sort, and missile defenses that make nuclear threats more difficult to carry out, place long term obstacles to this Russian strategy.
    The one issue I’d have with your analog is the role of the PRC in these two contexts will be considerably different, although balancing the Russian issues with a stronger PRC would be the much weaker position of Western European nations in the future compared to the period 1928-53.

  6. Reactionary says:

    Putin is a Russian patriot who seeks to advance his nation’s interests. Too bad we don’t have an equivalent as our head of state.

    I repeat, Mother Russia is a natural ally against militant Islam, particularly in Chechnya and the Balkans. Can anybody explain to me why we support militant Islam in those places?

  7. Reactionary says:

    The placement of an AMD system in Eastern Europe is a transparent insult to Russia by people with a long axe to grind against Russian nationalism. This is why you don’t see these systems being set up in Kuwait and Qatar or Israel.

  8. Tom Roberts says:

    #7 I suggest you consider the ARROW missile defense system, currently deployed in Israel (developed and funded jointly by the IDF and US MDA) and the PATRIOT missile defense (and air defense) system currently deployed throughout the Middle East. It should be kept in mind that the mid course interceptors being contemplated for deployment in Eastern Europe would be ineffective against either short range theatre missles, cruise missiles of all sorts, and maneuvering long range MIRV warheads such as Russia is doing development testing on now. The proposed US interceptors might have success against older generation mid range Russian missiles which would be similar in capability to the North Korean Taep’o-dong or Iranian Shahab types.
    Generally, all this information is available through searches at FAS.org.

  9. Reactionary says:

    So is this for defense against Russian missiles or Iranian missiles? It sounds like we have the latter sewn up, so if it’s the former, who would you rather have in charge of Europe: Orthodox Russia or Muslim democratic majorities?

  10. Tom Roberts says:

    Putin thinks this is about Russian missiles. To a very limited extent it could be, as I implied above. Officially it is about Iranian (and potentially Syrian or even Pakistani) missiles as they are the ones with simple upper stage designs and a lack of in flight maneuverability.
    Your last question is a bit beyond the scope of this thread, but wrt a rather catholic Poland and somewhat Catholic Czech Republic, I’d say neither. (those are the two nations offering permanent basing)

  11. Harvey says:

    I think Russia has more sense than to pre-launch any missile. I can’t say the same for Iran, Syria, or any other nation that has openly declared the “eradication” of Israel. I hope we have a red hot-line to Russia so we can communicate in some manner. Is is quite possible that we could be allies if circumstances demand it.

  12. Tom Roberts says:

    Might be a short conversation even in the best circumstances. Medium range flights are less than 10 minutes in duration. During the first 3 minutes you really don’t know what they are, until binocular or trinocular sighting data sources are combined into a reliable report. So, in the last five minutes, you can kiss your a__ goodbye and hope you still need a flashlight to see at night.

  13. Cennydd says:

    Mr Putin would do better to use his considerable influence with Iran to ensure that they don’t develop nuclear-armed missiles……something which they are quite capable of doing.

  14. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    This appears to be of apiece with the threatening response to the British government’s request that the ex-KGB alleged assassin who spread toxic radiation around London be returned to stand trial here.

    Sad that Russia after so much promise is returning to its age-old ways.