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Leaked documents: Then Russia could resort to nuclear weapons

Leaked documents: Then Russia could resort to nuclear weapons

According to residents the newspaper spoke to, the documents show that the threshold for using nuclear weapons is lower than President Vladimir Putin has publicly admitted.

The documents are said to come from sources in the West and consist of 29 military files prepared between 2008 and 2014.

Practiced against the Chinese invasion

The material contains operational principles for the use of nuclear weapons, for example training material showing that the military in eastern Russia practiced scenarios where the country is invaded by China.

One exercise described how Russia could respond with tactical nuclear weapons to prevent China from advancing with a second wave of invading forces.

Relations between Russia and China have improved significantly in recent years, but according to experts the Financial Times spoke to, classified materials are still relevant to Russian nuclear doctrine.

Another document, not linked to China, described the possibility of using nuclear weapons if an enemy entered Russian territory, if Russia lost units controlling the border, or in the event of an imminent enemy attack with conventional weapons.

“Nuclear weapons are a political decision”

Christina Melin is a security policy analyst at the Comprehensive Defense Research Institute. She points out that the picture presented by the Financial Times is consistent with the usual picture of how Russia views its nuclear weapons.

– What is new is information about the specific conditions for the use of nuclear weapons in the Russian army.

But it points out that the use of nuclear weapons is a political decision.

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Military training and plans, including nuclear weapons, are about creating capabilities and options for action. This does not mean that they will actually be used in this way.

According to Milin, only Russia can answer what Russia's nuclear weapons threshold looks like today.

During its invasion of Ukraine, Russia repeatedly indicated that it possessed nuclear weapons and the risk of escalation. They want to intimidate and create uncertainty in the West. At the same time, I stopped specifically at public speaking.