Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s formal annexation of four Ukrainian oblasts constituting fifteen percent of Ukraine’s territory at the Kremlin September 30th, including over five million inhabitants increasing Russia’s advantage in population over Ukraine to five times as many people transforming Ukraine from the second largest country in Europe to the fourth largest country in Europe. In his speech, Putin called for peace talks to begin to end the war and called on Ukraine to abandon their counteroffensives into newly Russian annexed territory or else he would authorize the employment of the full might of the Russian armed forces against it.

This point was underscored by the sighting of Russian Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ and Tu-95 ‘Bear’ strategic nuclear bombers in range of Kyiv earlier today delivering a powerful message of caution to the Ukrainian government. The Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Defense warned that the likelihood of Russian nuclear escalation against Ukraine is very high. U.S. intelligence previously warned that the U.S. might have no advance warning of a Russian tactical nuclear strike on Ukraine but perhaps this strategic nuclear bomber deployment is the warning that it was hoping for. Unfortunately, given the fact that Russia has employed multiple dual-capable nuclear delivery systems in Ukraine, if Putin launches a nuclear missile or nuclear bomber at Ukraine, we will have no way to ascertain whether it is actually nuclear-armed or not until it is too late.

read more of “The Real War” by David Pyne

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