Prolonged conflict may see Putin impose martial law in Russia, US intelligence ...

As the war in Ukraine continues to see towns besieged by Russian forces, some fear that the longer it goes on the more chance Putin may use nuclear weapons.

The warning comes from the US intelligence chief Avril Haines, who said that the perception that Russia is losing the war could see Putin utilise his nuclear arsenal to devastating effect.

On Tuesday (10 May), Haines briefed the Senate on worldwide threats. In her assessment, she said the prospect of defeat in Ukraine could be viewed as an existential threat by the Russian leader.

Ukrainian forces have held up their defence throughout the war which began with an invasion on 24 February.

Haines assessed that if Ukrainian forces are able to gradually weaken the Russian military, it could lead to increased escalation and volatility from Putin.

This has the potential to include full mobilisation, the imposition of martial law and the use of a nuclear warhead.

Speaking to the Senate armed services committee, Haines said: “We do think that [Putin’s perception of an existential threat] could be the case in the event that he perceives that he is losing the war in Ukraine, and that Nato in effect is either intervening or about to intervene in that context, which would obviously contribute to a perception that he is about to lose the war in Ukraine.”

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Haines believed that if Putin were to utilise nuclear weaponry, there would be some warning signs before that.

She said: “There are a lot of things that he would do in the context of escalation before he would get to nuclear weapons, and also that he would be likely to engage in some signalling beyond what he’s done thus far before doing so.”

These signals could include the mobilisation of nuclear equipment in a large-scale nuclear exercise.

The warmongering leader has used the threat of nuclear weapons against other nations or organisations that “interfere” with the ongoing war.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)