Thursday, April 16, 2015

President Vladimir Putin’s Dangerous Moves

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, NYT
APRIL 16, 2015

President Vladimir Putin of Russia has added new, chilling nuclear threats to his aggression in Ukraine, where 6,000 people have been killed in a war with Russian-backed separatists. Mr. Putin wants to expand his country’s influence and standing, but his alarming behavior has estranged Russia from most other major powers, damaged its economy and narrowed its future options.

Even for Mr. Putin, the recent nuclear threats have set a new benchmark for hostility in the conflict he has ignited with the West. Two weeks ago, The Times of London reported on a meeting between Russian generals and American officials in which the Russians threatened a “spectrum of responses from nuclear to non-military” if NATO moved more military forces into the Baltic States.

Last month, the Russian ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, warned that Danish warships “will be targets for Russia’s nuclear weapons” if Denmark follows through on its expressed interest in joining NATO’s missile defense system.

And in remarks aired on March 15, Mr. Putin said he was ready to bring nuclear weapons into a state of alert last year when Russia was in the process of invading and annexing Crimea. Some Russian officials have also hinted at the possibility of reintroducing nuclear weapons to Crimea, which has been free of them for two decades.

(More here.)

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