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Is Putin planning to start nuclear war against Ukraine? Harvard Prof Rawi Abdelal opines

Is Putin planning to start nuclear war against Ukraine? Harvard Prof Rawi Abdelal opines

Abdelal pointed out that President Putin wants to go down in history as the president who restored Russia's greatness in central and eastern Europe.

Abdelal highlighted that the network around President Putin is very loyal. Abdelal highlighted that the network around President Putin is very loyal.

The broader question about nuclear war is not about Russia versus Ukraine but Russia versus the West, Rawi Abdelal, the geo-political expert said on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interaction with India Today, Rawi Abdelal, Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, spoke on the chances of a nuclear warfare amid escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Abdelal pointed out that President Putin wants to go down in history as the president who restored Russia's greatness in central and eastern Europe.

"The broader question about nuclear war as we once feared it is not about Russia versus Ukraine, but Russia versus the West and for that logic, we must think what are the ways Russia and NATO could come to direct conflict leading to a nuclear exchange between the great powers as opposed to a single tactical nuclear strike in Ukraine".

Moreover, Abdelal highlighted that the network around President Putin is very loyal. "There was a time in Russia when money bought power. Now it's the other way around, power begets money. All these yachts and villas exist at the pleasure of the elites. There is a deep interest in maintaining this system as it is".

He further added that there are two ways to think about the possibility of a nuclear strike. "One is a tactical strike, just a nuclear weapon not a big one on the territory of Ukraine as the Russian forces get further bogged down and it may last longer".

Meanwhile, Russia on Tuesday called on Ukrainian forces to "immediately" lay down arms and issued a new ultimatum for the defenders of the besieged port city of Mariupol to give up their resistance.

The Russian defence ministry's warning came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced late on Monday the start of a new offensive by Moscow, focused on the east of the former Soviet state.