Russian Nuclear Threat Cannot Be Ignored, Says CIA Director

Russian Nuclear Threat Cannot Be Ignored, Says CIA Director

( – Despite claims coming from the Kremlin that everything in Ukraine is going as planned, it’s likely this conflict has dragged on longer than Russian President Vladimir Putin would have liked. Shortly after his decision to attack Ukraine, Putin put his nuclear forces on high-alert. Now, William Burns, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is urging US officials to take the threat of nuclear action seriously.

What the CIA Said

Burns delivered a speech at the Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly known as Georgia Tech, in which he talked about the situation unfolding in Eastern Europe. The CIA Director believes Putin may be more open to the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine after his military has faced setbacks, adding to his reported desperation. Burns noted that the weapons in question would be “low-yield” or tactical nukes.

What Are Tactical Nukes?

These “low-yield” nuclear weapons can range anywhere from 0.1 kilotons-50 kilotons, with one kiloton being the equivalent of 1,000 tons of TNT. To put that in perspective, the atomic bomb the United States dropped on Hiroshima, called “Little Boy,” also the first nuclear weapon ever used, had an explosive force equal to around 15 kilotons. These so-called “low-yield” nuclear weapons only got that designation because of how unfathomable the destructive power they yield has become.

Just a reminder to how serious nuclear weapons can be: 66,000 people died and another 69,000 were injured in the Hiroshima blast. Neither the US or Russia have signed a treaty regarding tactical nuclear weapons.

The Kremlin’s Warning

Russia’s military principle does permit the use of nuclear weapons in order to neutralize a traditional military threat. Not long after Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, Putin ordered his nuclear deterrence to be on high-alert. Several warnings have come from the Kremlin that Russia may resort to the use of its nuclear arsenal should the country perceive a threat to its existence.

Not to Be Taken Lightly

Burns mentioned the possible desperation coming from Moscow, adding the nuclear threats aren’t something the US should sweep under the rug. The CIA Director did offer some comfort, adding that despite the Kremlin’s rhetoric regarding heightening Russia’s nuclear alert, there hasn’t been any evidence to cause serious concern. Burns added the CIA will continue to monitor the situation closely, asserting it’s one of the agency’s most important priorities.

Nuclear war is the last thing anyone wants. Then again, people don’t always get what they want, do they?

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