Ukraine: Expert says 'Putin's weighing up 'nuclear blackmail'
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General Sir Richard Sherriff, Britain’s former top NATO commander, has called the Ukraine situation the most perilous in Europe for decades. He said that while the war would initially be between Ukraine and Russia, the possibility that NATO could get involved is “very real”. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, General Shirreff said: “This is the most dangerous moment in Europe probably at least since 1962 and the Cuban missile crisis, but it could be much worse than that because this is the invasion of a sovereign country which could turn into a catastrophic war with warfare on a scale not seen in Europe since 1945.
“So I think it’s difficult to overstate the seriousness of the situation.”
“Once war has started, assuming Putin decides to continue what he has embarked upon and attacks Ukraine, the potential to escalate and potentially involve NATO is a very real possibility.”
He added: “Nobody starts a war if they don’t think they can win it.
“Putin thinks he will be able take over Ukraine that is the assumption we must make from what we’re watching in Donetsk and Luhansk.
“NATO has got to make it absolutely clear that whatever happens in Ukraine that it will not go further because if it doesn’t and Putin thinks he can win a war against NATO then we’re in a terrible position.”
The senior officer also warned: “Russians integrate nuclear thinking into every aspect of their military doctrine and they practice it.
“We’ve seen they’ve been practicing it in Belarus in exercises that have been happening in the last Ukraine crisis when Russia invaded Crimea.
“Nuclear blackmail, nuclear thinking is integrated into every aspect of military and defence doctrine so we have to assume the worst in that case.”
More to follow…
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