War in Ukraine: Is Putin a rational actor or will he use Russia’s atomic arsenal?


After Ukraine’s successful military offensive in recent weeks, Russia has largely managed to stabilize the front. The hopes of some commentators for a quick Ukrainian victory were thus somewhat premature. It is difficult to say how great the shortage of ammunition and technology actually is within the Russian armed forces; what can be said, however, given the hundreds of missiles that have been launched in recent days, is that Russia is unlikely to have a problem continuing the war in the short term.

The partial mobilization, with 220,000 reservists now called up, is meeting resistance within the Russian population. However, it is not expected that there will be an uprising against Putin in the short term. Morale within the army has been and remains weak, as many soldiers do not know what exactly they are fighting for in Ukraine. Reservists are often sent to the front after only 10 to 14 days of training; however, the bulk will likely be used for administrative tasks in Russia to free up well-trained and combat-experienced soldiers for the front.

Even though only 4 countries supported Russia in the UN resolution against the annexation of the four eastern Ukrainian provinces, among those 35 countries that abstained were large countries like India and China. Russia is not isolated worldwide, as can be seen from the almost unchanged voting behavior since Russia’s invasion. Russia would face global isolation if they used nuclear weapons.

Whether and how to compare the Ukrainian war with other wars since 1945, what influence the demonstrations in Iran have on Russia, why Belarus will not intervene in the war, whether Europe will maintain sanctions even if the winter is harsh, whether the annexation of the eastern Ukrainian provinces has increased the chance of using nuclear weapons and why the likelihood of their use would increase if there were further Ukrainian successes are other questions that will be addressed in the course of this conversation.


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IP – VIPAC – 11 – War in Ukraine-YOUTUBE-IPHP Wolfgang Müller CC BY SA 4.0