The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

Putin’s Nuclear Threats Are Reaching Beyond Ukraine

As Russian troops suffer setbacks on the battlefields of Ukraine, the Kremlin is more likely to use extraordinary measures to stop the deterioration of the Russian military. Such measures may range from using the winter season as a weapon to employing nuclear weapons. The current partial mobilization of the armed forces is the first step in the new phase of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The stakes for Moscow in this war are much higher than the setbacks caused by the lost battles. Historically, lost wars in Russia have been followed by severe national crises often accompanied by internally generated regime changes. To avert this eventuality, the Kremlin has to avoid further losses, solidify its gains in southeastern and southern Ukraine, and force Kyiv and its Western supporters to recognize Moscow’s war gains by ceasing hostilities and signing a peace agreement.

By announcing the partial mobilization of military reservists, Moscow risks triggering popular unrest in Russia. According to the official Kremlin version of events, the “special military operation” in Ukraine was progressing smoothly and without a diversion from the plan. At the same time, the Kremlin has refused to acknowledge huge manpower losses in the war. In his televised address on September 21, Russian president Vladimir Putin did call the “special military operation” a war. According to Putin, Russia is engaged in war with the West, and to win it, Russia needs 300,000 military reservists. For months, Putin was against military mobilization for political reasons. Now, he has been forced to acknowledge to the Russian people that the Russian military leaders had no choice but to call up military reservists.

The Russian military hardliners demanded some sort of a military mobilization from the very start of this war. By the end of the first week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it became clear to most military observers that the Russian armed forces needed a strategic reserve to overcome Ukraine’s resistance. Starting to create new units seven months into a war is too late for achieving success through conventional military means. It will take several months to properly equip and train the reservists, and even then, they may just be enough to replace Russia’s losses on the battlefield and to allow for more frequent rotations of Russia’s frontline fighters.

Read more at National Interest

Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.

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The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.