“The goal would be to try to get the Ukrainians, in their terror, to capitulate. I do worry about that kind of scenario at the moment and I think the Ukrainians seem well-prepared to stay the course, but we will all have to be ready to stay the course come what may.”
Just days after Russia invaded its neighbour, Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in August there was no need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to achieve Moscow’s goals. However, the reality on the ground has changed since.
On how to avoid Russia using nuclear weapons, Ms Gotemoeller said: “We’ve done an excellent job since the start of this crisis, sending a clear message to Moscow that is: No impunity, we know what you’re up to. You cannot get away with, for example, false flag operations. At the early part of this crisis we were very concerned that the Russians would engineer biological or chemical attacks against certain targets in Ukraine and blame them on the Ukrainians, so we were very clear, putting out our intelligence and saying: We know what you’re up to.
“So I think we need to be alert at this moment to the same type of possibilities on the Russian side.
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