NewsNuclear Threats Rise as UK and US Bolster Ukraine with Arms

Nuclear Threats Rise as UK and US Bolster Ukraine with Arms

Vladimir Putin threatened the United Kingdom with a retaliatory attack. Moscow, May 9, 2024.
Vladimir Putin threatened the United Kingdom with a retaliatory attack. Moscow, May 9, 2024.
Images source: © PAP

3:31 PM EDT, May 12, 2024

Tensions have flared between London and Moscow due to the British government's approval of using their weapons for attacks on Russian territory. In retaliation, President Vladimir Putin has once again threatened the use of nuclear weapons.

London decided to act following the United States' approval of over $60 billion in support for Ukraine through the House of Representatives after months of delay. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak subsequently announced that the UK would provide weapons worth $625 million to Ukraine, marking the country's largest support package since the war's escalation.

The aid includes 400 combat vehicles, over 1,600 missile projectiles and air defense missiles, and Storm Shadow air-to-surface missiles capable of hitting targets up to 155 miles away. Sunak emphasized that "defending Ukraine against Russia's brutal ambitions is vital for our security and for all of Europe. If Putin is allowed to succeed in this war of aggression, he will not stop at the Polish border."

The Kremlin's threat to London

The aid to Kyiv didn't solely provoke the Kremlin's ire. The situation escalated further after Foreign Minister David Cameron stated, "Ukraine has the right to use British weapons to attack Russia." This made the Russian Foreign Ministry assert that London was a combatant in the conflict. Following Cameron's statements, the British ambassador was summoned and warned of potential attacks on British military facilities in Ukraine and beyond in retaliation for Kyiv's use of British weapons against Russian territory.

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced it would conduct exercises with tactical nuclear weapons to "unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state." Putin later reiterated Russia's readiness for nuclear conflict, emphasizing the regularity of strategic atomic exercises.

Russia's nuclear threat has surfaced repeatedly, especially during challenging moments on the battlefield. The first instance occurred in March 2022, after retreating from Kyiv. Dmitry Medvedev, Vice Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, has also been a frequent issuer of nuclear threats, which have become less impactful over time due to their repetition.
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