William M. Arkin
Russia’s attacks on a dozen Ukrainian cities on Monday, in what Moscow calls retaliation for the sabotage of the Kerch Bridge to Crimea, bring the world ever closer to nuclear war, four U.S. government and military sources told Newsweek.
The officials, all working on nuclear-weapons issues, said that not enough is being done to avoid nuclear escalation at a time that battlefield developments are repeatedly exposing the weakness of President Vladimir Putin‘s conventional forces and leaving him with dwindling alternative options. “Russia is losing the war in every way,” a senior Defense Intelligence Agency officer told Newsweek. “But we can’t celebrate Ukrainian victory, not yet. The very conditions that Putin has told us might justify nuclear escalation are emerging. That includes threats to Russia’s territorial integrity and the very survival of the state.”