Russia’s ‘nuclear saber-rattling’ aimed at influencing Western decision-makers – ISW

The Kremlin acts in the way so that its “nuclear saber-rattling” overlaps with major policy discussions in the West, impacting Western decision-makers.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) stated this in its latest report.

ISW recalled that the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on May 21 that missile elements of the Southern Military District (SMD) began the first stage of non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons exercises. In addition, Russian Aerospace Forces will also exercise with Iskander ballistic missiles and Kinzhal aeroballistic missiles.

Experts add that a famous Kremlin-awarded military blogger explicitly tied Russian tactical nuclear weapons exercises to Kremlin efforts to have influence on the discussions about the restrictions on Ukraine’s use of Western-provided weapons to strike military targets in Russia.

“[This is] echoing ISW’s assessment that Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons tests are part of a Kremlin reflexive control campaign that often uses nuclear saber-rattling to influence Western decision-makers to engage in self-deterrence,” the report says.

At the same time, ISW keeps saying that Western limits on Ukraine’s ability to strike military targets in Russia are “severely compromising Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against current Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast or any area along the international border where Russian forces may choose to conduct offensive operations in the future.”

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