A new Pentagon report suggests continued frustration with Ukrainian resistance could turn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy into nuclear threats against the West.
“The prolonged occupation of parts of Ukrainian territory threatens to undermine Russian military manpower and reduce its arsenal of modernized weapons, while the resulting economic sanctions will likely plunge Russia into prolonged economic depression and diplomatic isolation” reads the 67-page report by Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier and the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Berrier said the combined punch of a vigorous Ukrainian military so outnumbered and the global imposition of economic sanctions against Russia would mean the country would begin to run out of resources. some of the necessary tools of modern warfare. as “precision-guided munitions”, which could hinder the invasion of Russia.
Already, more than 1,000 long-range missiles have been fired into Ukraine as Russia’s military march through the country continually encounters roadblocks and setbacks.
“As this war and its aftermath slowly weaken Russia’s conventional strength,” Berrier said, “Russia will likely rely increasingly on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project its strength to its internal and external audiences. .”
As it stands, Putin has already imposed a higher state of alert on his country’s nuclear network, and Berrier said the state of high alert could be turned into an outright threat.
“American efforts to undermine Russia’s goals in Ukraine, combined with its perception that the United States is a nation in decline, could prompt Russia to engage in more aggressive actions not only in Ukraine itself, but also more broadly in its perceived confrontation with the West,” Berrier said.
As for Ukraine’s continued resistance, Berrier said Putin was determined to reintegrate Ukraine into Russia on terms that do not benefit Ukrainians “to restore a sphere of influence over Ukraine and other states. of the former Soviet Union”.