An article in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported that Russia was “recasting” the war in Ukraine as a global conflict in the making.
“Russia has all the tools for this; We will use them if necessary.”
“The forces that have always pursued a policy of containing Russia…they do not want such a huge and independent country that is too big for their ideas,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week, according to a report in the WSJ. “They believe it endangers them simply by the fact of its existence, although this is far from reality. It is they who endanger the world.”
“[Any country that] creates strategic threats for Russia that are unacceptable to us, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning-fast,” he said. [Russia has] all the tools for this, such that no one [else] can boast of,” he said. “We will use them if necessary.”
The article suggested that the Russian government could use Victory Day, celebrated on May 9, as a focal point to motivate their citizens. Victory day commemorates the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. Russian President Vladimir Putin has justified his invasion of Ukraine with claims that his goal is to eradicate the Nazi influences. Such a claim would serve as a powerful motivation for Russians, as in the war against the Nazis in World War II, the losses of the Soviet Union from all related causes were about 27,000,000, both civilian and military. The German army occupied Ukraine in September 1941; however, Nationalists in western Ukraine were among the most enthusiastic Nazi collaborators.
Russian officials have gone on record stating that by providing weapons to Ukraine, Western nations, including the US, have essentially started a war with Russia.
“NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Russian news agency Tass said last week. “War means war.”
Biden throwing gasoline on the fire
This statement came after President Joe Biden requested $33 billion in military and economic aid for Ukraine. The president justified the expenditure as sending a clear message to Putin.
“You will never succeed in dominating Ukraine,” Biden said in remarks at the White House, emphasizing that the new policy was intended “to punish Russian aggression, to lessen the risk of future conflicts.”
The situation was exacerbated, and pathways to reconciliation were cut off at the end of March when, in an unscripted outburst, Biden stated, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” referring to Putin as a “butcher.” Despite attempts by staffers at damage control, in later statements, the president doubled down and refused to retract his statements.
WSJ reported that state-run media were warning the Russian public that “the West ultimately seeks to contain—or even destroy—Russia and have threatened retaliation, including the possibility of nuclear strikes.
“I think World War III is more realistic, knowing us, knowing our leader Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin,” said Margarita Simonyan, head of the Russian state-controlled international television network RT, during an appearance Tuesday on the program of the pro-Kremlin talk-show host Vladimir Soloviev.
“There’s no chance at all that we would simply roll over and say, ‘Oh, you know, it didn’t work out,’ ” she added. “The most incredible thing is that, in the end, all this will end in a nuclear strike.”
Mr. Soloviev replied, “But we will go to heaven, and they will simply croak.”
Two weeks ago, on the Russian program “60 Minutes,” panelists discussed the feasibility of launching a nuclear strike against Western Europe.
“Objects like the city of New York, a good city, but it would be gone,” the first panelist asserted. “Completely gone with one rocket,” he added.
“Get a stopwatch. Count 200 seconds,” another panelist said. “That’s how you talk to them. They don’t understand anything else.”
The US is taking these statements seriously. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Friday: “You have a nation the size of Russia with a nuclear arsenal their size and capability and a leader that is clearly as belligerent as Vladimir Putin. We have to take seriously the escalatory rhetoric that he and his leaders have been using lately.” He added, “It would be—as irresponsible as it is for him to use that rhetoric, it would be equally irresponsible for us not to take it seriously. And so we do.”