Such a war is unwinnable in general, but by Russia in particular, the head of the alliance claims
NATO has told Moscow very clearly that Russia cannot win a nuclear war and has been amassing troops on its eastern border to “remove any room for miscalculation or misunderstanding,” the secretary general of the US-led bloc, Jens Stoltenberg, told Reuters on Wednesday.
“This is dangerous and reckless nuclear rhetoric,” he told Reuters editor-in-chief Alessandra Galloni on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. “He knows very well that a nuclear war should never be fought and cannot be won and it will have unprecedented consequences for Russia,” he added, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Asked what NATO would do in the event that Russia used atomic weapons, however, Stoltenberg said it “depends” on the circumstances, but that the bloc was very clear in their communications with Moscow that “a nuclear war cannot be won by Russia.”
“So far we are not seeing any changes in the nuclear posture” of Russia, he added, but NATO is “monitoring very closely” if that changes.
In a speech broadcast on Wednesday morning, Putin accused the West of seeking to dismember Russia and said Moscow would use any means at its disposal to defend the country’s territorial integrity – including its nuclear deterrent, in case of an attack with weapons of mass destruction. Putin emphasized that he was “not bluffing” about this.
Stoltenberg insisted that the Russian leader had “made a strategic mistake” with Ukraine and that the conflict there is not going according to his plan – as inferred by NATO, anyway. He also argued that Russian forces are ill-equipped and struggling with command, control and supplies, while Ukraine has the unified support of the collective West, which Russia “totally underestimated.”
“We are not party to the conflict, but we support Ukraine,” Stoltenberg insisted. NATO has supported the government in Kiev with money, weapons, training and intelligence, according to multiple Western officials and media outlets.