US intelligence agencies and their allies are stepping up efforts to detect any Russian military activity or communications that could indicate that Vladimir Putin ordered the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Politico writes about this, citing several current and former US officials.
However, according to them, Washington fears that the first signs of a possible attack may appear too late. The reason is that most Russian aircraft (along with conventional weapons) can also deliver smaller nuclear weapons designed for more targeted use on the battlefield. Such charges are more difficult to track than ICBMs once they are on alert.
This means that if Putin does not want the world to know about it in advance, the US may never know when Russian troops replaced conventional ammunition with atomic bombs, writes Politico.
In turn, the Russian publication Voennoye Obozreniye writes in an article about tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) of Russia:
“It should be noted that the production and deployment of tactical nuclear weapons is not limited by any documents and rules - with the exception of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and agreements on delivery vehicles. Thanks to this, the nuclear powers can produce and keep on duty any required amount of tactical munitions. In addition, there is no need to report on such weapons to anyone.
Earlier in his regular address to the Russians, Putin said that Russia has "a variety of weapons of destruction" and that it will "use all the means available to us."
After that, the US warned Russia about the "catastrophic consequences" of the decision to use nuclear weapons:
“If Russia crosses this line, the consequences for it will be catastrophic. The US will respond strongly."
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes that Putin's nuclear threats should be taken seriously:
“Taking words seriously, not ignoring them as a bluff, but taking them seriously is by no means a sign of weakness or conciliation, it is a sign of political wisdom.”