Russian army officers have mentioned how and underneath what circumstances Russia would use a tactical nuclear weapon on the battlefield in Ukraine, in line with a US intelligence evaluation described to CNN by a number of sources who’ve learn it.
The evaluation, drafted by the Nationwide Intelligence Council, will not be a excessive confidence product and isn’t uncooked intelligence however slightly evaluation, a number of individuals who have learn it instructed CNN. For that cause, some officers consider the conversations mirrored within the doc might have been taken out of context, and don’t essentially point out that Russia is making ready to make use of a nuclear weapon.
The US has nonetheless not seen any indicators that Russian President Vladimir Putin has determined to take the drastic step of utilizing one, officers stated, and Putin will not be believed to have been concerned within the discussions described within the NIC product.
However others throughout the administration who’ve considered the doc have reacted with concern, as a result of it offers a uncommon window into conversations between senior Russian generals and divulges their intensifying frustration about Russia’s losses on the battlefield in Ukraine. That frustration might flip into desperation, some officers concern. There are additionally questions on whether or not Russia’s self-declared annexation of jap Ukraine earlier this yr means Russia is prepared to take extra excessive measures to guard that territory.
Some extra context: The US has additionally been watching Russia’s actions across the southern Ukrainian metropolis of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces try to take again from Russian forces in a counteroffensive. In current weeks, Russian officers have ordered the town to be evacuated, and the US is worried that if Ukraine drives the Russians out in a humiliating defeat, it could possibly be the form of set off that may lead Putin to resort to tactical nukes. It is among the many eventualities envisioned by the intelligence evaluation, though officers emphasised that Kherson will not be the only real focus of the product.
The New York Instances first reported on the intelligence evaluation. However the inner divisions over the standard of the intelligence and methods to interpret it has not been beforehand reported.
CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.
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