Lauren C. Moye, FISM News
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he might take a page from the U.S. military strategy playbook by using preemptive military strikes after a top NATO official warned the conflict could widen into other countries.
Putin referenced the Conventional Prompt Global Strike, which would enable the U.S. to hit an adversary’s most strategic locations within one hour, that America has been working to develop.
“We are just thinking about it. They weren’t shy to openly talk about it during the past years,” Putin said at a summit for the economic alliance of ex-Soviet nations on Friday. He added that it was worth considering “adopting” the idea.
“If the potential adversary believes that it can use the theory of a preemptive strike and we don’t, it makes us think about the threats posed by such ideas in other countries’ defensive posture,” Putin said, without eliminating the idea that a nuclear weapon could be used for this preemptive strike.
The comments were widely derided by Pentagon officials as “irresponsible saber-rattling.”
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concerns on Friday that the Russian-Ukraine conflict could escalate to include other countries.
“It is a terrible war in Ukraine. It is also a war that can become a full-fledged war that spreads into a major war between NATO and Russia,” the secretary said to the Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “We are working on that every day to avoid that.”
Ukrainian city Bakhmut turned into ‘burnt ruins’
On Saturday, fierce shelling across the entire front line in the Donetsk region caused widespread damage. As one of the four illegally-annexed regions, the fighting has been fierce as Ukraine persistently attempts to reclaim its land from Russian invaders.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the situation as remaining “very difficult” in both the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, which together make up the industrial region known as Donbas that borders Russia. The area has been a foothold of Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
However, the recent fighting has caused widespread destruction.
“Bakhmut, Soledar, Maryinka, Kreminna. For a long time, there is no living place left on the land of these areas that have not been damaged by shells and fire,” Zelenskyy said during his Friday evening address. The four cities are all on the front lines.
“The occupiers actually destroyed Bakhmut, another Donbas city that the Russian army turned into burnt ruin,” he continued.
Russia seeks resupply from Iran, warns British diplomat
Strengthening ties between Russia and Iran have worried Western countries and prompted new military aid packages for Ukraine.
On Friday, Britain’s United Nations Ambassador Barbara Woodward warned that the Kremlin was seeking hundreds of ballistic missiles from Tehran in exchange for an “unprecedented level of military and technical support.”
“We’re concerned that Russia intends to provide Iran with more advanced military components, which will allow Iran to strengthen their weapons capability,” Woodward said to reporters.
Russia denied the allegations through their own U.N. ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, who told the U.N. Security Council later that day, “The military-industrial complex in Russia can work perfectly fine and doesn’t need anyone’s assistance, whereas the Ukrainian military industry does not basically exist and is being assisted by the Western industry.”
The Iranian representative did not provide a comment.
Still, concerns about a growing alliance have prompted a new $275 million aid package from the U.S. to help Ukraine strengthen air defenses and defeat drones.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby told Washington reporters that he was concerned about the “deepening and burgeoning defense partnership” between the two.
Anonymous senior officials within Tehran previously told Reuters reporters in October that there were plans to supply Russia with surface-to-surface missiles and more drones.
Evidence of Russia’s use of Iran-sourced suicide drones has been previously discovered. At the time, Iran denied supplying any drones to Russia after Feb. 24. However, Woodward said that Iran has supplied hundreds of unmanned aerial vehicles to Russia just since August which have been used to “kill civilians and illegally target civilian infrastructure” in Ukraine.
For example, officials from Odesa, the southern port city of Ukraine, said the area was left without power earlier today for all non-critical infrastructure after Russians used drones to target energy facilities.