Putin Loyalist Threatens Nuclear Strike on Europe If NATO Force Deploys

Russian missiles in Red Square / Getty Images
March 30, 2022

A Russian political scientist tied to President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow will launch a nuclear strike on Europe if a NATO peacekeeping force is deployed to intervene in Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine.

"This would mean nuclear war. Yes!" Sergey Mikheev, a Putin loyalist, said in a recent interview on Russian state-controlled television. Mikheev said that Warsaw "would be instantly destroyed" and that Germany, Estonia, and the Baltic states would also be hit, according to video of the appearance published by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which has been tracking the conflict.

"We need to convey a simple message to Europe: You will receive a nuclear strike in European territory if you form some sort of a NATO peacekeeping contingent, if you decide to deploy this contingent somewhere and so forth," Mikheev said.

Directing his comment to Poland, Mikheev said, "In half a second, there will be nothing left of your Warsaw. And the brave Germans, brave Estonians, brave people of the Balts… By the way, speaking about the Balts, as far as I know, there are big problems at the border in Kaliningrad."

The comments highlight Russia's bid to use the threat of nuclear war to deter European nations and the United States from entering the war in Ukraine. While NATO members have sent millions of dollars in lethal aid to Ukraine, they have avoided entering the conflict out of fear that a nuclear war could break out. The comments from Mikheev and other Moscow loyalists also hint at Putin's fear that these nations will take more direct action to counter his military forces.

As the war drags on, experts are increasingly worried that Putin may turn to his large nuclear arsenal. The Biden administration is also taking the threat seriously: It has assembled a team of national security experts to sculpt scenarios for a response to a Russian nuclear attack, according to the New York Times.