The war in Ukraine is entering a new and deadly phase
Just when you thought it could not get much worse. Toronto Star columnist Thomas Wolkom fears the war in Ukraine has entered a new phase.
“Nuclear war has always posed a risk in the faceoff between Russia and the West. That risk is now extreme,” he says.
“The reason has to do with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin has long hinted that he is willing to forge a compromise with Kyiv that will end the fighting. While the details are fuzzy, such a compromise would see Ukraine giving up territory to Russia in exchange for peace. Ukraine has always said it would never sign such a deal — unless Moscow agreed to withdraw all the troops that now occupy Ukrainian territory.
“The result was stalemate. Until now.”
Walkom says Putin has upped the ante. “Russia has long reserved the right to be the first to use nuclear weapons if it comes under conventional attack. NATO claims a similar right.” But with the referendums underway in Russian-occupied Ukraine, those territories may now be considered Russia by the Kremlin after pro-Russian votes are counted, a majority result that many feel is assured.
“In short, we are entering new and dangerous territory, where a minor battle between the two sides in the Ukraine conflict could quickly escalate into all-out nuclear war,” says Walkom.
He suggests that Putin’s controversial call-up of military reservists may be his undoing. “This promises to make about 300,000 additional people subject to military call-up, and will give thousands of ordinary Russians a taste of the war being waged in their name.
“Oddly enough, this could end up bringing new pressure on Putin to seek a peaceful compromise. Foreign wars are not popular in Russia. They remind people of Russia’s futile fight in Afghanistan, a fight that saw far too many coming home in body bags.”
- Read “Risk of nuclear war is now extreme, as Vladimir Putin warns ‘I’m not bluffing’” by Thomas Walkom published on September 23, 2022 in the Toronto Star
- Also, listen to “Putin’s Escalation of the War in Ukraine” on The New York Times’ podcast, The Daily, posted on September 22, 2022
(Cover: Moscow, Russia – 2022 February 22: Vladimir Putin on the news. President of Russia speech on TV. Russia and Ukraine war. Via Shutterstock)